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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Waters v. Cook's Pest Control, Inc. EE-AL-0122
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-00394 ( N.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On February 28, 2007, a rejected African-American job applicant filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, against defendant Cook's Pest Control, Inc. On July 17, 2007, another plaintiff joined the suit and the plaintiffs amended ... read more >
On February 28, 2007, a rejected African-American job applicant filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, against defendant Cook's Pest Control, Inc. On July 17, 2007, another plaintiff joined the suit and the plaintiffs amended the complaint. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, brought suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, claiming that defendant maintained a pattern and practice of discrimination in employment on the basis of race. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that defendant discouraged African-Americans from applying for jobs with defendant by, among other things, telling them there was no job and requiring that they file applications personally at every office at which they sought employment. Plaintiffs asked the court for a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and money damages.

On August 8, 2007, defendant filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's original complaint for lack of service and a motion to dismiss the Title VII claims in plaintiffs' amended complaint. On January 28, 2008, the Court (Judge L. Scott Coogler) denied both motions.

On March 3, 2008, the Court granted the later-joining plaintiff's motion for voluntary dismissal.

On June 5, 2008, defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the named plaintiff failed to failed to make a prima facie case for disparate impact or disparate treatment and failed to show any injury to himself. On December 9, 2008, the Court (Judge Coogler) denied defendant's motion for summary judgment without prejudice pending further discovery.

Over the next several years, extensive discovery was conducted. In December of 2010, the cases was stayed temporarily as the parties sought mediation, and in October of 2011 the parties reached a settlement. Under the terms of the proposed settlement agreement, defendant agreed to set up a settlement fund of $2,500,000 and to bear the costs of administering the payment of the class members' claims. It also agreed to establish and implement a race-neutral, anti-discrimination hiring policy with the help a monitor, to train employees in the policy, and to keep records of the race of applicants and hires and the reason hiring decisions were made. The settlement was to last three years, with a possible extension of up to one additional year if necessary to resolve challenges still pending with the monitor.

On January 27, 2012, the Court (Judge Coogler) preliminarily approved the settlement and provisionally certified the class for the purposes of the settlement.

As of the date of this summary, final approval of the settlement is still pending.

Christopher Schad - 07/12/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Cook's Pest Control, Inc.
Plaintiff Description all African-Americans who applied for employment at any Cook’s location from March 1, 2005, through the date of preliminary approval of the settlement, and who were denied employment, excluding all judicial officers or employees of the Federal courts within the second degree of affinity; employees of Plaintiffs’ counsel; and any other person whose presence in the class would cause mandatory recusal of any judge assigned to the case
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
2:07-cv-00394 (N.D. Ala.) 07/05/2012
EE-AL-0122-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Class Action Complaint 07/17/2007
EE-AL-0122-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Opinion and Order [Denying Defendant's Motions to Dismiss] 01/28/2008 (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0122-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment 06/05/2008
EE-AL-0122-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Cook's Pest Control, Inc.'s Brief in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment 06/05/2008
EE-AL-0122-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment Without Prejudice] 12/09/2008 (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0122-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement 11/03/2011
EE-AL-0122-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement and Providing for Notice 01/27/2012 (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0122-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Brief in Support of Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement, Attorney Fee Award and Other Relief 05/10/2012
EE-AL-0122-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Brief in Support of Approval of Class Settlement 05/10/2012
EE-AL-0122-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Coogler, L. Scott (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0122-0003 | EE-AL-0122-0006 | EE-AL-0122-0008 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Braxton, Toni J. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0009 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Bronner, Raymond L. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0009 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Campbell, Thomas F. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0002 | EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0009 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Childs, Robert F. Jr. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0007
Fisher, Samuel (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0002 | EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0009 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Hill, Samuel Mark (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0002 | EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0009 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Flowers, Ronald W. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0004 | EE-AL-0122-0005 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Greaves, Mac B. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0004 | EE-AL-0122-0005 | EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0010 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Middlebrooks, David J. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0010 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Morton, Dent M. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0010 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Pittman, Julie W. (Alabama)
EE-AL-0122-0007 | EE-AL-0122-0010 | EE-AL-0122-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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