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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Wagner v. Nutrasweet Co. EE-IL-0301
Docket / Court 92 C 2418 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On April 8, 1992, a former female employee of defendant filed a lawsuit against defendant under the Equal Pay Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Chicago Division. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked ... read more >
On April 8, 1992, a former female employee of defendant filed a lawsuit against defendant under the Equal Pay Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Chicago Division. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for monetary and injunctive relief, alleging discriminatory compensation and discriminatory termination based on sex. Later on, other former female employees of defendant joined the action as plaintiffs.

Defendant argued that plaintiffs could not maintain a cause of action because each signed a release in which they knowingly and voluntarily released defendant from any and all claims arising from their employment or separation of employment. On October 17, 1994, the court (Judge Castillo) held that the plaintiffs' failure to tender redeployment pay barred their claims. Moreover, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification on the ground that the proposed class failed to meet the typicality and commonality requirements.

On August 29, 1995, the court (Judge Castillo) granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment, holding that evidence did not support the plaintiff's discriminatory compensation and gender discrimination claim.

The plaintiffs appealed. On September 5, 1996, the 7th Circuit (Judge Wood) affirmed part of the district court's decision, but vacated the order denying request for class certification.

In light of the appellate opinion, on January 1997, the district court (Judge Castillo) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. However, on June 15, 1998, the parties reached a settlement, and the court (Judge Castillo) approved the settlement. The terms of the settlement are not available.

Kunyi Zhang - 11/23/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
Defendant(s) The Nutrasweet Company
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are former female employees of defendant.
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 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 1995
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)
1:92-cv-2418 (N.D. Ill.) 07/21/1998
EE-IL-0301-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Denied class certification) 10/17/1994 (873 F.Supp. 87) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0301-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Motion for summary judgment against plaintiff Wagner granted) 08/29/1995 (900 F.Supp. 959) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0301-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
7th Circuit Opinion 09/05/1996 (95 F.3d 527)
EE-IL-0301-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order (motion for class certification granted) 01/09/1997 (170 F.R.D. 448) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0301-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Castillo, Ruben (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0301-0001 | EE-IL-0301-0002 | EE-IL-0301-0003 | EE-IL-0301-9000
Wood, Diane Pamela (Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0301-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burger, Joan Harlow (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Meites, Thomas R. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Mollica, Paul William (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Wardell, Laurie Arden (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abram, Thomas G. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Belmont, Carlys Elizabeth (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Donmoyer, Karen Taylor (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Jepson, Edward C. Jr. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Robin, Richard C. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0301-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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