University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Edwards v. City of Houston EE-TX-0452
Docket / Court 4:92-cv-02510 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On August 19, 1992, African American and Hispanic members of the Houston Police Department filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against the City of Houston in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The plaintiffs, represented by the City of Houston ... read more >
On August 19, 1992, African American and Hispanic members of the Houston Police Department filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against the City of Houston in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The plaintiffs, represented by the City of Houston Legal Department and private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, claiming that HPD's testing practices to determine promotions had a disparate impact on minority members of the HPD. Plaintiffs had attempted to intervene in earlier cases (Kelley v. Hofheinz, Dock. No. H-75-1536, and Comeaux v. City of Houston, Dock. No. 76-H-1754) alleging that HPD's promotions examinations were discriminatory, but they had been unsuccessful.

The District Court (Judge Lynn Hughes) approved the parties' consent decree on February 4, 1993. The decree included two stipulated classes, including African American and Hispanic members of the police department. The decree also provided for remedial promotions for members of the classes.

On March 25, 1993, the Court issued Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law regarding Plaintiffs' consent decree. Over some objections by non-parties to the lawsuit, the Court found that the consent decree was appropriate and not prejudicial to non-minorities. Further, the Court found that Plaintiffs had proven their allegations of disparate impact and that the consent decree was narrowly tailored to achieving a compelling government interest.

After the District Court denied would-be plaintiffs' motion to intervene, the would-be plaintiffs appealed. On November 10, 1994, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's denial of the motion to intervene but reversed the District Court's denial of the motion to intervene for purposes of appeal. The Fifth Circuit also affirmed the District Court's approval of the consent decree. Edwards v. City of Houston, 37 F.3d 1097 (5th Cir. 1994). The Fifth Circuit then granted rehearing en banc on March 15, 1995. Edwards v. City of Houston, 49 F.3d 1048 (5th Cir. 1995).

After the rehearing en banc, on April 1, 1996, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the District Court erred when it denied the motion to intervene in the underlying case. The Fifth Circuit remanded the case, stating that the District Court should allow the parties to intervene with the rights of full parties; grant the new parties sufficient time for discovery; and hold another fairness hearing after time for discovery. Edwards v. City of Houston, 78 F.3d 983 (5th Cir. 1996).

The District Court approved the modified consent decree on September 13, 2000. The Final Consent Decree, filed on April 2, 2001, provided for promotions, record-keeping, reporting, and attorneys' fees and costs.

After non-parties alleged that the consent decree constituted reverse discrimination against them, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals again affirmed the District Court's approval of the Consent Decree on August 19, 2002. The Supreme Court denied certiorari. There has been no further substantive action in the case.

Haley Waller - 08/30/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Promotion
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Promotion
Testing
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Asian/Pacific Islander
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) City of Houston
Plaintiff Description African American and Hispanic members of the Houston Police Department; female and Asian members later intervened.
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 2000
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)
4:92−cv−02510 (S.D. Tex.) 10/14/2005
EE-TX-0452-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
CONSENT DECREE 02/04/1993
EE-TX-0452-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FINDINGS OF FACT and CONCLUSIONS OF LAW 03/25/1993 (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0452-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5th Circuit Opinion 11/10/1994 (37 F.3d 1097)
EE-TX-0452-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas 03/15/1995 (49 F.3d 1048)
EE-TX-0452-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Public.Resource.Org
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas 04/01/1996 (78 F.3d 983)
EE-TX-0452-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Public.Resource.Org
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas 05/09/1997 (114 F.3d 1184)
EE-TX-0452-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
FINAL ORDER 09/12/2000 (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0452-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FINAL ORDER 04/02/2001 (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0452-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas 08/19/2002 (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0452-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Judges Barksdale, Rhesa Hawkins (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Davis, W. Eugene (W.D. La., Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
DeMoss, Harold R. Jr. (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0003 | EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-0009 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Dennis, James L. (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-0006 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Duhe, John Malcolm Jr. (W.D. La., Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Garwood, William Lockhart (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Garza, Emilio M. (W.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Garza, Reynaldo Guerra (S.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0003 | EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (N.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-0006 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Hughes, Lynn Nettleton (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0452-0001 | EE-TX-0452-0002 | EE-TX-0452-0007 | EE-TX-0452-0008 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Jolly, E. Grady (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-0009 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Jones, Edith Hollan (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
King, Carolyn Dineen (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Parker, Robert Manley (E.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0003 | EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-0009 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Politz, Henry Anthony (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0004 | EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Stewart, Carl E. (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Wiener, Jacques Loeb Jr. (Fifth Circuit)
EE-TX-0452-0005 | EE-TX-0452-0006 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acosta, Constance K. (Texas)
EE-TX-0452-0002 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Selmi, Michael (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0452-0002 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Seymour, Richard Talbot (New York)
EE-TX-0452-0002 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Vinick, Sharon R. (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0452-0002 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fisher, John E. (Texas)
EE-TX-0452-0002 | EE-TX-0452-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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