University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Robinson v. Sears, Roebuck and Co. EE-AR-0063
Docket / Court 4:98-cv-00739 ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On November 4, 1998 plaintiffs, a group of eight black employees and one Asian employee of a Sears store in Little Rock, Arkansas, filed suit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas alleging that the defendant had unlawfully ... read more >
On November 4, 1998 plaintiffs, a group of eight black employees and one Asian employee of a Sears store in Little Rock, Arkansas, filed suit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas alleging that the defendant had unlawfully discriminated against them on the basis of race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000e), and state law. The complaint stemmed from an allegation of unequal pay but included other related allegations. Specifically the employees alleged disparate treatment and disparate impact in terms of pay, training, placement, transfer, and promotion. They sought a declaratory judgment, a permanent injunction, damages, and costs and fees.

On July 3, 2000 the district court (Judge Susan Webber Wright) denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment on the individual claims of each plaintiff and granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification as modified by the court. The class was comprised of current and former non-white hourly employees of the Sears store in question from November 4, 1995 for the disparate treatment claims and from November 4, 1997 for the disparate impact claims.

The parties thereafter pursued settlement negotiations and on May 17, 2001 the court (Judge Wright) granted preliminary approval to their agreement. The settlement provided for injunctive relief and damages. The defendant agreed to hold a job fair for all class members, modify its hiring and promotion procedures, modify its evaluation and employee recordkeeping protocols, and monitor its compliance with the settlement and report to the court and class counsel. Class members were awarded a total of $1,142,000.00 and defendant agreed to pay attorney's fees of costs of $417,717.00. The case terminated on August 17, 2001 when the court (Judge Wright) granted final approval to the settlement agreement.

Michael Perry - 10/10/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Training
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Asian/Pacific Islander
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Plaintiff Description Current and former non-White hourly employees of Sears' University Store who allegedly have been discriminated against by Sears' employment practices in job assignment or placement, pay and promotion.
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 2001
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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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)
4:98−cv−00739 (E.D. Ark.) 08/17/2001
EE-AR-0063-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order (Granting plaintiffs' motion for class certification and denying defendant's motion for summary judgment) 07/03/2000 (111 F.Supp.2d 1101) (E.D. Ark.)
EE-AR-0063-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
First Amended Complaint - Class Action 07/14/2000
EE-AR-0063-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order (Granting preliminary approval to the settlement agreement) (Settlement Agreement attached) 03/17/2001 (E.D. Ark.)
EE-AR-0063-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Settlement Agreement 08/17/2001 (E.D. Ark.)
EE-AR-0063-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Wright, Susan Webber (FISC, E.D. Ark., W.D. Ark.)
EE-AR-0063-0001 | EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-0004 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carter, Daniel R. (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-0003
Dickson, Holly Elizabeth (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-9000
Isaac, Holly E. (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-0003
James, Paul Joseph (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-0002 | EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alaka, Aida M. (Illinois)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Couch, David A. (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Davis, Peggy A. (Illinois)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Dickman, John M. (Illinois)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Dixon, Philip E. (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Gangemi, Columbus R. Jr. (Illinois)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Peterson, Gerald C. (Illinois)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Riggs, Steve L. (Arkansas)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Warman, Peter C. (Illinois)
EE-AR-0063-0003 | EE-AR-0063-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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