University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Middleton v. Publix Super Markets EE-FL-0155
Docket / Court 8:97-cv-00760 ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On April 4, 1997, Plaintiffs, African American employees and applicants for employment with Publix Super Markets, Inc. filed a class action complaint Publix Super Markets in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, ... read more >
On April 4, 1997, Plaintiffs, African American employees and applicants for employment with Publix Super Markets, Inc. filed a class action complaint Publix Super Markets in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), et seq.; Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981; the Florida Human Rights Act of 1977, ("Florida HRA"); and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief, claiming that Publix had maintained a pattern and practice of racial discrimination against black applicants and employees in both its retail outlets and its non-retail operations.

Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that Publix had engaged in a policy or pattern of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race in all of its operations with respect to hiring, assignment, demotion, transfer, compensation, promotion from part-time to full-time, promotion from full-time to management, promotion within management, harassment, retaliation and discharge.

On April 17, 2000, a new class representative who had been denied promotion due to the implementation and evaluation of certain testing. During the following month, the parties began settlement negotiations. These efforts ultimately resulted in a voluntary agreement to settle this action.

On July 12, 2001, the Court (Judge James D. Whittemore) approved a Consent Decree which provided monetary relief for certain eligible Class Representatives and equitable and declaratory relief for other eligible Representatives. A particularly notable aspect of the settlement involved the establishment of a discharge review system to ensure that black associates have an opportunity to have discharges reviewed by Publix's Human Resources Department, and the option to submit claims of alleged race discrimination arising from such decisions to mediation. Beginning in July 2001, there were obligatory monthly status reports filed with the Court detailing the settlement proceedings; these status reports were issued until October 2003, when Judge Whittemore signed an order granting an unopposed motion to relieve this obligation.

Robert Routh - 07/20/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Demotion
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Each of the Plaintiffs in the class is a black applicant for employment, black employee, or black former employee of Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
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 2001 - 2008
Case Closing Year 2001
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)
8:97−cv−00760 (M.D. Fla.) 08/25/2004
EE-FL-0155-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/03/1997
EE-FL-0155-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 03/22/1999
EE-FL-0155-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree (Proposed) 07/12/2001
EE-FL-0155-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Approving Consent Decree) 07/12/2001 (M.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0155-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Whittemore, James D. (M.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aye, Walter Edwards (Florida)
EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Davis, John Clark (Florida)
EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-0004 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Roberts, Kesler T (Florida)
EE-FL-0155-0004
Spriggs, Peter Kent (Florida)
EE-FL-0155-0001 | EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-0004 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barkin, Marvin E (Florida)
EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Gallagher, John J. (District of Columbia)
EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Hill, William Bradley Jr. (Georgia)
EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000
James, Dinita L (Arizona)
EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Smith, Kevin M (Tennessee)
EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Weirich, C. Geoffrey (Georgia)
EE-FL-0155-0002 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Other Lawyers Freund, Jeffrey R (District of Columbia)
EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000
Susskind, Howard S (Florida)
EE-FL-0155-0003 | EE-FL-0155-9000

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