University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Leonard v. Southtec, LLC EE-TN-0141
Docket / Court 3:04-cv-00072 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On January 27, 2004, employees filed a lawsuit under under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Tennessee Human Rights Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-01 et seq., and Tennessee state law concerning retaliatory discharge, Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-3 ... read more >
On January 27, 2004, employees filed a lawsuit under under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Tennessee Human Rights Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-01 et seq., and Tennessee state law concerning retaliatory discharge, Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-304, against their employer, Southtec LLC, an automotive supplier, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, alleged racial discrimination and asked the court for injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees. Specifically, plaintiffs contended that Southtec LLC had committed intentional and subjective discrimination in which employees and potential employees were discriminated against on the basis of race and national origin in hiring decisions, pay increases, promotion decisions, and in their working environment.

On October 15, 2004, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify their class action claims and on September 8, 2005, the court (Judge John T. Nixon) granted class certification. The class consisted of all former, present, and future employees at the Southtec plant in Lebanon, Tennessee. Leonard v. Southtec, LLC., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32751 (M.D. Tenn. 2005). On January 31, 2006, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the defendant's petition for interlocutory appeal and vacated the district court's decision to grant class certification.

The parties subsequently reached a settlement. On March 2, 2007, the plaintiffs entered a settlement agreement and consent decree with the court. On May 15, 2007, the court issued a consent decree and a final order of class action settlement. The settlement class for purposes of monetary relief included all African-American and Hispanic individuals who applied for employment at Southtec's Lebanon, Tennessee facility from January 1, 2002, through the time of the settlement, but who were not hired or re-hired. The settlement class for purposes of equitable and declaratory relief consisted of all African-American and Hispanic individuals who were employed at Southtec's Lebanon, Tennessee facility at any time, for any length of time, between the commencement date and expiration of the decree. Additionally, the plaintiffs' counsel was awarded $315,000 in attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses. Overall, defendants agreed to pay $900,000, to not make hiring decisions on the basis of race or national origin, and to provide training prohibiting discrimination and harassment.

Emily Kuznick - 04/08/2008


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Hiring
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Southtec, LLC, et al
Plaintiff Description Former, present, and future minority employees at the Southtec plant in Lebanon, Tennessee.
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
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
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)
3:04-cv-00072 (M.D. Tenn.) 05/15/2007
EE-TN-0141-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Opinion 09/08/2005 (2005 WL 2177013 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 32751) (M.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0141-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Class Certification Vacated 01/31/2006
EE-TN-0141-0001 PDF | Detail
Consent Decree and Settlement Agreement 03/02/2007
EE-TN-0141-0002 PDF | Detail
Final Order of Class Action Settlement 05/15/2007 (M.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0141-0003 PDF | Detail
Judges Griffin, Juliet E. (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
EE-TN-0141-0002 | EE-TN-0141-0003 | EE-TN-0141-0004
Guy, Ralph B. Jr. (E.D. Mich., FISCR, Sixth Circuit)
EE-TN-0141-0001
McKeague, David William (Sixth Circuit, W.D. Mich.)
EE-TN-0141-0001
Nixon, John Trice (M.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0141-0001 | EE-TN-0141-0002 | EE-TN-0141-0003 | EE-TN-0141-0004 | EE-TN-0141-9000
Sutton, Jeffrey S. (Sixth Circuit)
EE-TN-0141-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fentonmiller, Laura C. (District of Columbia)
EE-TN-0141-9000
Gonzalez, Jerry (Tennessee)
EE-TN-0141-0001 | EE-TN-0141-0002 | EE-TN-0141-0004 | EE-TN-0141-9000
Sanford, David W. (District of Columbia)
EE-TN-0141-0002 | EE-TN-0141-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Frazier, Keith D. (Tennessee)
EE-TN-0141-0002 | EE-TN-0141-9000
Harris, Jonathan O. (Tennessee)
EE-TN-0141-0001 | EE-TN-0141-0002 | EE-TN-0141-0004 | EE-TN-0141-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -