University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name O'Bannon v. Friedman's EE-MD-0140
Docket / Court 8:03-cv-00623 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On March 6th, 2003, African American employees of Friedman's jewelry store filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Friedman's Inc., along with Federal Insurance Company and St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company. The lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, ... read more >
On March 6th, 2003, African American employees of Friedman's jewelry store filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Friedman's Inc., along with Federal Insurance Company and St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company. The lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought equitable and injunctive relief, alleging that they had suffered a racially hostile work environment, discriminatory policies and practices, and a pattern or practice of race discrimination in hiring, promotion, compensation, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

This case was brought after plaintiffs allegedly suffered various forms of racial discrimination. One plaintiff, a former African American employee of Friedman's, claimed to have been repeatedly turned down for promotional opportunities due to the way her hiring would affect the "racial mix" in the store. Another plaintiff was allegedly discharged from his position after opposing Friedman's racially discriminatory policies and practices. Plaintiffs also claimed that management at Friedman's had been repeatedly instructed not to hire "too many African Americans at any one store." Additional claims included African Americans being routinely paid less in similar positions that were also held by white employees and that these and other factors contributed to a racially hostile work environment and a pattern and practice of racial discrimination.

In 2004, the parties reached an agreement which included monetary and injunctive relief. However, on January 14, 2004, after reaching this settlement, Friedman's Inc. filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Due to the bankruptcy proceedings, the settlement could not be completed. The parties agreed to a revised class settlement which included a reduced amount of monetary relief and injunctive relief, however Friedman's went into bankruptcy once again and the settlement could not be completed. After the second bankruptcy, Friedman's chose dissolution.



The parties entered a final settlement in 2009. A final consent decree was approved by Judge Alexander Williams Jr. on February 12, 2009, and the named plaintiffs and class members received over a million dollars, including attorneys' fees and costs.

Julianne Nowicki - 07/22/2010


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Friedman's
Plaintiff Description African-American employees of Friedman's, a nationwide retail jewelry store.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
8:03−cv−00623 (D. Md.) 05/14/2009
EE-MD-0140-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Complaint 03/27/2006
EE-MD-0140-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 06/28/2006
EE-MD-0140-0001.pdf | Detail
Opinion 06/28/2006 (437 F.Supp.2d 490) (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY’S MOTION TO DISMISS 09/11/2006
EE-MD-0140-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ST. PAUL MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY’S MOTION TO DISMISS 09/11/2006
EE-MD-0140-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS (#85) AND MOTION TO DISMISS (#87) 04/30/2007 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT DENYING DEFENDANTS’ AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES REGARDING INTERRELATED WRONGFUL ACTS 08/16/2007
EE-MD-0140-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 08/16/2007
EE-MD-0140-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ST. PAUL MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY’S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 08/16/2007
EE-MD-0140-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER TO STAY 03/26/2008 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CONSENT DECREE AND CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS 09/25/2008
EE-MD-0140-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CONSENT DECREE AND CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS 10/29/2008 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT 01/30/2009
EE-MD-0140-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FINAL CONSENT DECREE 02/12/2009
EE-MD-0140-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
REVISED ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT 02/12/2009 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice of the Insurer Defendants 05/14/2009 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Connelly, William G. (D. Md.) [Magistrate]
EE-MD-0140-9000
Williams, Alexander Jr. (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0140-0005 | EE-MD-0140-0009 | EE-MD-0140-0011 | EE-MD-0140-0013 | EE-MD-0140-0014 | EE-MD-0140-0015 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baller, Morris J. (California)
EE-MD-0140-0001 | EE-MD-0140-0002 | EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0006 | EE-MD-0140-0010 | EE-MD-0140-0012 | EE-MD-0140-0015 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Edelman, Daniel B. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-0001 | EE-MD-0140-0002 | EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0006 | EE-MD-0140-0010 | EE-MD-0140-0012 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Goldstein, Barry L (California)
EE-MD-0140-0001 | EE-MD-0140-0002 | EE-MD-0140-0006 | EE-MD-0140-0010 | EE-MD-0140-0012 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Ho, Laura L. (California)
EE-MD-0140-0001 | EE-MD-0140-0002 | EE-MD-0140-0006 | EE-MD-0140-0012 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Jaramillo, Joseph E. (California)
EE-MD-0140-0010
Kan, James (California)
EE-MD-0140-0006
Nix, Keenan R S (Georgia)
EE-MD-0140-0001 | EE-MD-0140-0002 | EE-MD-0140-0006 | EE-MD-0140-0010 | EE-MD-0140-0012 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Warren, Thomas A. (Florida)
EE-MD-0140-0001 | EE-MD-0140-0002 | EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0006 | EE-MD-0140-0010 | EE-MD-0140-0012 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Comey, Eugene J. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-9000
Doorley, Amy B. (Georgia)
EE-MD-0140-9000
Hartman, Gerald S. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-0015 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Homer, Gregory W. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Leonard, David M. (Georgia)
EE-MD-0140-0003 | EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0007 | EE-MD-0140-0015 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Rees, Jonathan T. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-0003 | EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0007 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Reff, Alisa H. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-0016 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Rigby, Suzanne (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0140-0004 | EE-MD-0140-0008 | EE-MD-0140-0015 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Sher, Jonathon Frank (California)
EE-MD-0140-0008 | EE-MD-0140-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -