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Case Name Johnson v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department EE-AL-0108
Docket / Court 2:82-cv-00717 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On October 12, 1982, female employees of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e against their employer in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive, ... read more >
On October 12, 1982, female employees of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e against their employer in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive, declaratory, and compensatory relief, claiming that their employer had discriminated against them because of their gender. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that they had been denied promotions and had been discriminated against regarding their work assignments.

On September 12, 1983, the Court (Judge Myron H. Thompson) certified a class of all past, present, and future female employee's of the county sheriff's department and all present and future female applicants for positions in the department. Johnson v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 99 F.R.D. 562 (M.D. Ala. 1983).

The Court approved a settlement between the parties on January 8, 1985. Johnson v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 604 F.Supp. 1246 (M.D. Ala. 1985). The settlement provides for new hiring policies, new promotion policies, and detailed safeguards for equal treatment of women in job and shift assignments and transfers. The settlement also provided individual compensation to all class members.

In November 1990, the Court permitted a group of white male deputy sheriffs (the Dodson intervenors) to intervene in this litigation. The Dodson intervenors claimed that Defendant, acting under the consent decree entered in this case, discriminated against white males in its hiring and promotion practices.

On June 6, 1991, after a bench trial, the Court issued an opinion holding that Plaintiffs were due appropriate individual and class-wide relief as a result of Defendant's violation of the consent decree. Johnson v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 766 F.Supp. 1052 (M.D. Ala. 1991).

The Dodson intervenors filed for class certification twice. On May 18, 1992, the Court granted the Dodson intervors' second motion for class certification for the purpose of challenging promotion procedures within the Sheriff's Department. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 1992 WL 714818 (M.D. Ala. May 18, 1992)

On December 29, 1994, the Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment against the Dodson intervenors. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 873 F. Supp. 585 (M.D. Ala. 1994). The Court found no Equal Protection violation because Defendant showed both that there was a compelling governmental interest for the promotions and that the promotions were narrowly tailored to meet the compelling government interest.

On May 19, 1995, the Court held that because the proposed settlement agreement provided that, in addition to the two white employees selected for promotion, the Defendant would select two African Americans from the top scoring band of the most qualified candidates, it was sufficiently narrowly tailored to meet a compelling government interest for the purposes of equal protection strict scrutiny analysis. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 887 F. Supp. 1479 (M.D. Ala. 1995).

The Court issued an opinion regarding Plaintiffs' and Defendant's proposed permanent promotion plan. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 890 F. Supp. 1520 (M.D. Ala. 1995). Specifically, the Court held that (1) notice of proposed plan was adequate; (2) plan was adequate and reasonable; (3) intervenors' objection that plan would have adverse impact on white males was premature; (4) Court would approve the plan; (5) plan's requirement that department consider adverse impact data in making selections did not violate equal protection; (6) use of 4/5s rule to measure adverse impact was acceptable; (7) due process objections from intervenors were beyond the scope of their motion; and, (8) even though the plan did not contain a sunset provision, the Court would approve it.

On July 2, 1996, the Court granted Defendant's motion to modify the consent decree because of an unforeseen change in facts. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 934 F. Supp. 1314 (M.D. Ala. 1996).

The Court granted Defendant's proposal to modify the consent decree on August 10, 1999. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 1999 WL 638202 (M.D. Ala. Aug. 10, 1999). Because Plaintiffs had agreed to part of the proposed plan, the Court treated the proposal as a partial class-action settlement; further, the Court adopted the Defendant's proposed modification to the consent decree to select promotes from a randomly ranked list of promotion candidates.

On June 20, 2000, the Court granted Defendant's motion for termination of the gender discrimination suit brought by female deputies. Williams v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, 99 F. Supp 1330 (M.D. Ala. 2000). The Court held that Defendant had complied with prior orders in the case and granted termination despite two pending discrimination claims.

The Court denied Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs with leave to renew on August 15, 2000. This was the final action in the case, and the case has been closed.

Haley Waller - 11/05/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Montgomery County Sheriff's Department
Plaintiff Description Female employees of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department
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 1982 - 1994
Case Closing Year 1994
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-AL-0092 : Sims v. Montgomery County (M.D. Ala.)
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)
2:82-cv-00717-MHT-CSC (M.D. Ala.) 08/15/2000
EE-AL-0108-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 09/12/1983 (99 F.R.D. 562) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
ORDER 01/08/1985 (604 F.Supp. 1346) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
MEMORANDUM OPINION 06/06/1991 (766 F.Supp. 1052) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
ORDER 05/18/1992 (1992 WL 714818) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0013 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
MEMORANDUM OPINION 12/29/1994 (873 F.Supp. 585) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
MEMORANDUM OPINION 05/19/1995 (887 F.Supp. 1479) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
MEMORANDUM OPINION 07/03/1995 (890 F.Supp. 1520) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
MEMORANDUM OPINION 07/02/1996 (934 F.Supp. 1314) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
OPINION 08/10/1999 (1999 WL 638202) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0012 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
MEMORANDUM OPINION 06/20/2000 (99 F.Supp.2d 1330) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
ORDER (denying, with leave to amend, motion for attorney fees and costs) 08/15/2000 (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Thompson, Myron Herbert (N.D. Ala., M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0108-0001 | EE-AL-0108-0004 | EE-AL-0108-0005 | EE-AL-0108-0006 | EE-AL-0108-0007 | EE-AL-0108-0008 | EE-AL-0108-0009 | EE-AL-0108-0010 | EE-AL-0108-0011 | EE-AL-0108-0012 | EE-AL-0108-0013 | EE-AL-0108-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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