On February 26, 1997, African American employees of Lufkin Industries filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against heir employer. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and equitable relief, attorneys' fees and costs, an injunction, and any other appropriate equitable relief. The plaintiffs claimed that they were discriminated against on the basis of race in hiring, job assignments, training, evaluations, promotions, demotions, discipline, compensation, lay-offs, recalls, rehires, terminations, and other terms and conditions of employment.
On October 22, 1997, the Court (Judge Thad Heartfield) denied the defendant's motion to dismiss. The Court stated that the plaintiffs should have the chance to do discovery related to their claims. The parties engaged in discovery over the next two years. In addition, in 1998, the case was reassigned to Judge Howell Cobb.
The Court (Judge Howell Cobb) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification on March 31, 1999. 187 F.R.D. 267 (E.D. Tex. 1999).
In July 2000, the court held a bench trial before Judge Howell Cobb. The parties presented testimony and evidence at the trial. After the trial, the parties agreed to stay the case while they attempted mediation. After three years, mediation proved unsuccessful and the plaintiffs reopened the case, filing their second amended complaint on March 28, 2003.
On July 11, 2003, the Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the disparate treatment class claims to the extent that disparate treatment claims, if asserted, would be severed from this case. The Court also: ruled on various discovery motions from both parties; denied the defendant's motion to transfer the case to a different court for trial; and denied the plaintiffs' motion to bifurcate the trial.
The Court denied the plaintiffs' motion to reconsider the dismissal of disparate treatment class claims on August 1, 2003. The Court denied the plaintiffs' motion primarily because the Court had never certified a disparate treatment class, and the Court had provided mechanisms by which the plaintiffs could individually pursue disparate treatment claims.
The parties entered a stipulation regarding the geographic scope of the class, which the Court signed, on October 27, 2003. The stipulation modified the original class certification so that only employees working at the defendant's Angelina County, Texas, facilities were eligible for the class.
The Court denied the defendant's motion to amend the class certification to exclude salaried employees on October 30, 2003. On the same day, the Court denied the defendant's motion for partial summary judgment.
On November 18, 2003, the Court denied three unions' motions to intervene as of right as defendants. The unions (the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers; the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, & Allied Workers International Union; and the International Association of Boilermakers) had filed their motions only 34 days before the trial. Thus, the Court found that the unions' motion failed the timeliness requirement of Rule 24(a)(2).
On August 31, 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed the District Court's denial of the motion to intervene. McClain v. Lufkin Industries, 108 Fed. Appx. 176 (5th Cir. 2004).
The Court filed a memorandum and order serving as its findings of fact and conclusions of law after a bench trial on January 13, 2005. McClain v. Lufkin Industries, 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 42545 (E.D. Tex. Jan. 13, 2005). The Court again found that the plaintiffs had satisfied the requirements for class certification and that the plaintiffs had sufficiently exhausted their administrative remedies. The Court enjoined Lufkin Industries against racially-biased assignment and promotion practices. The Court also ordered Lufkin to pay back pay to employees who had been discriminated against. The defendants appealed this decision.
The Court granted in part and denied in part Lufkin Industries' motion to amend and make additional findings of fact on February 14, 2005. The Court did amend its judgment to award pre-judgment interest at the rate of 5% instead of 10% on the back pay, but the Court denied the remainder of the defendant's requests.
On August 29, 2005, the Court amended its final judgment and concluded that the plaintiffs were entitled to back pay and injunctive relief. The Court also awarded the plaintiffs attorneys' fees and costs. The Court denied without prejudice the plaintiffs' motion for a supplemental award of attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses on September 19, 2005.
After considering the defendants' appeal, on February 29, 2008, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated and remanded in part, the District Court's judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. McClain v. Lufkin Industries, 519 F.3d 264 (5th Cir. 2008). The Fifth Circuit vacated the District Court's judgment insofar as it held the defendant liable for discriminatorily assigning newly hired African Americans to a certain division. However, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the District Court's judgment regarding the defendant's liability for its discriminatory promotional practices.
The parties filed their final joint status report on back pay issues on March 31, 2009. The parties had resolved some issues on their own, but several issues remained that needed to be resolved by the Court.
On April 2, 2009, the Court (Judge Ron Clark) issued an order regarding attorneys' fees. 2009 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 27983 (Apr. 2, 2009, E.D. Tex.). The Court found that the plaintiffs were the prevailing party even though a final judgment on the merits had not been entered. As such, the Court ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiffs $4,740,195.80 for attorneys' fees and $932,603.84 in litigation related expenses through January 1, 2009. Further, the Court ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiffs $140,562.26 in taxable costs.
On April 7, 2009, the Court (Judge Ron Clark) approved the parties' proposal to appoint Industrial Organizational Psychologist Dr. Michael Campion to review the defendant's promotion policies, procedures, and practices to address and remedy the Court's findings of unlawful subjectivity in promotions.
The Court (Judge Ron Clark) issued an order regarding damages on June 19, 2009. The parties had already agreed that damages should be awarded for the time period between 1996 and 2002 in the amounts of $1,901,417 for hourly employees and $128,055 for salaried employees. The Court found that damages must also be awarded for the time period from 2003-04. The Court also ordered the plaintiffs to file a brief outlining their claim for hourly promotion discrimination between 2005-07.
The Court (Judge Ron Clark) denied the defendant's motion for partial summary judgment on June 19, 2009. In light of previous rulings in the case, the Court refused to find that the defendant did not discriminate when promoting employees to, and within, salaried positions or that damages and injunctive relief were barred.
The defendant appealed the Court's award of attorneys' fees and costs to the plaintiffs. However, the Fifth Circuit dismissed the appeal on August 28, 2009, because it did not qualify under the collateral order doctrine because the award would be reviewable on appeal after the District Court entered a final judgment. McClain v. Lufkin Industries, 342 Fed. Appx. 974 (5th Cir. 2009).
The Court (Judge Ron Clark) issued an injunction to partially remedy the discrimination found earlier by the Court on December 18, 2009. 2009 WL 5814125 (Dec. 18, 2009, E.D. Tex.). The injunction: appointed an outside ombudsperson to monitor compliance, investigate complaints, and report to the Court; required compliant with certain promotion procedures; outlined testing protocols for determining promotions; imposed training requirements; and, imposed reporting and internal monitoring requirements. The Order remained in effect for five years after the date of its entry (December 18, 2009).
The Court (Judge Ron Clark) issued an order regarding monetary relief on December 22, 2009. 2009 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 125630 (Dec. 22, 2009, E.D. Tex.). The Court awarded $3,269,845 in back pay (plus pre-judgment interest) and appointed a third party administrator to administer the funds.
The Court (Judge Ron Clark) issued its final judgment on January 15, 2010. 2010 WL 455351 (Jan. 15, 2010, E.D. Tex.). The defendants were ordered to pay $3,269,848 in back pay; $2,218,421.48 in pre-judgment interest; and post-judgment interest was to be calculated at the rate of 0.41%. The order also governed the allocation of payments to the plaintiffs and again outlined the payments due to the plaintiffs' attorneys.
On November 14, 2011, the Supreme Court denied certiorari review. The defendants were also denied rehearing and therefore the court proceeded to implemented the December 2009 injunction.
After implementing the injunction, the district court held periodic status conferences with the parties in an attempt to narrow the disputed issues and to identify areas of agreement. When the parties reached agreements, incorporated into stipulations, on certain other issues related to the scope and terms of injunctive relief, the court would amend the injunction to reflect those stipulations.
On December 21, 2011, the court (Judge Ron Clark) entered the first amended injunction. A third amended injunction came on December 19, 2012 and a fourth on July 17, 2013. As of April 2016 the case is on-going as the injunction remains in effect.Haley Waller - 09/28/2010
Lakshmi Gopal - 02/22/2016