On August 24, 1992, African American employees of Boeing Company filed a class action lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Boeing Company in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief and back-pay, claiming that Defendant had discriminated against them in their employment on the basis of their race. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that Defendant discriminated against them with respect to compensation, hiring, discipline, discharge, promotion, transfer, job assignments, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Defendant had moved to associate an additional law firm for its defense team; the District Court (Judge Robert B. Propst, Jr.) denied the motion on the ground that adding the firm would require recusal of the judge hearing the case. On April 5, 1996, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the denial of the motion was within the District Court's discretion and did not violate any of Defendant's fundamental rights. Robinson v. Boeing Co., 79 F.3d 1053 (11th Cir. 1996).
Pursuant to a stipulation between the parties, the Court (Judge U.W. Clemon) conditionally certified the class on October 25, 1996. The class included all African American employees in certain pay grades at Defendant's Missiles and Space Division in Huntsville, Alabama, who claimed that they had been discriminated against because of their race at any time since February 19, 1991.
The Court provisionally approved the parties' proposed Consent Decree on October 1, 1997. The Court ordered Defendant, at its own expense, to provide potential class members with notice before final approval would be granted.
The Consent Decree was entered on November 24, 1997. In the Decree, Defendant agreed not to retaliate against Plaintiffs and to pay: $700,000 in back pay, bonus disbursements for Class Representative Plaintiffs, and $600,000 in attorneys' fees and costs,
On December 22, 1997, the Court issued its findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding objections to the proposed settlement. Specifically, the Court found that class notice was effective and negotiations were conducted in good faith and at arm's length. Further, the Court found that two objectors were not, in fact, members of the class and that the $600,000 paid to Plaintiffs' attorneys was fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Thus, the Court approved the settlement, finding that it was fair, adequate, reasonable, and just and that the relief was adequate and sufficient.
On September 24, 1999, the Court issued an order concerning the settlement fund. At that time, there was over $10,000 remaining in the fund; the Court ordered that $4,000 be paid to a class member previously excluded from the settlement and the remaining funds be paid to Plaintiffs' attorneys. After such payments were made, Defendant was to be relieved of all obligations under the Consent Decree.
The Court dismissed the case with prejudice on March 17, 2000. However, the Court gave leave to two individuals who were excluded from the settlement (a co-plaintiff and an intervenor) to file separate complaints. There has been no further litigation in this case.Haley Waller - 11/14/2010