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Case Name Arnold v. Cargill EE-MN-0090
Docket / Court 0:01-cv-02086 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On November 15, 2001 a group of current and former African American managers filed suit against Cargill in the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota. Plaintiffs alleged a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and state law by a pattern or practice of discrimination that resulted in both ... read more >
On November 15, 2001 a group of current and former African American managers filed suit against Cargill in the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota. Plaintiffs alleged a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and state law by a pattern or practice of discrimination that resulted in both disparate treatment and disparate impact on African Americans employed by Cargill in terms of advancement, compensation, and termination.

On July 15, 2002 the district court (Judge Donovan Frank) granted defendant's motion to dismiss in part and motion for summary judgment in part. The remaining claims continued into discovery. Plaintiffs sought class action certification and a hearing was scheduled for October 2004. In the process of discovery, however, defendant learned of possible unethical conduct by plaintiffs' counsel, Sprencer & Lang (S & L). The conduct concerned the behavior of one attorney from S & L who obtained documents, some of which were privileged, from a former high-level executive in Cargill's Human Resources Department. The privileged documents were at least cursorily examined and retained, likely by mistake. Though the facts were highly disputed the court found on September 24, 2004 that the conduct of S & L was unethical and was sufficient to disqualify them from representing plaintiffs in the case.

New counsel was obtained and discovery resumed. On June 20, 2006 the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. Subsequently some individual plaintiffs dropped out of the case while others pursued settlement negotiations with Cargill. Individual settlements were finalized in June 2007 for all remaining plaintiffs and the court entered a final order dismissing all plaintiffs' claims with prejudice on July 10, 2007. The details of each individual settlement are not known.

Michael Perry - 07/24/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Cargill Inc.
Plaintiff Description A group of current and former African American managers at Cargill
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
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)
0:01−cv−02086 (D. Minn.) 07/31/2008
EE-MN-0090-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to dismiss and granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion for summary judgment) 07/15/2002 (2002 WL 1576141 / 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13045) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
First Amended Complaint 05/07/2003
EE-MN-0090-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Granting defendant summary judgment with regards to one plaintiff and denying defendant summary judgment in regards to constructive discharge claims) 05/28/2004 (2004 WL 1234116 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10108) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order (denying defendant's Motion to Dismiss, denying defendant's Motion for Additional Sanctions and granting defendant's Motion to Disqualify Plaintiffs' Counsel) 09/24/2004 (2004 WL 2203410 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 19381) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Vacating summary judgment granted defendant on May 28, 2004) 11/08/2004 (2004 WL 2538471 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 22796) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Providing directions for the implementation of the 9/24/04 order) 11/23/2004 (2004 WL 2713259 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 26793) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to strike expert reports and denying plaintiff's motion for class certification) 06/20/2006 (2006 WL 1716221 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 41555) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
ORDER FOR DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE OF PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIMS 07/10/2007 (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Denying motion by plaintiffs' former council for attorney's fees and costs and denying motion by defendant for attorney's fees and costs relating to the unethical conduct of plaintiffs' former counsel) 12/04/2007 (2007 WL 4287677 / 2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 89146) (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Judges Frank, Donovan W. (D. Minn.)
EE-MN-0090-0002 | EE-MN-0090-0003 | EE-MN-0090-0004 | EE-MN-0090-0005 | EE-MN-0090-0006 | EE-MN-0090-0007 | EE-MN-0090-0008 | EE-MN-0090-0009 | EE-MN-0090-9000
Monitors/Masters Thompson, Peter N. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Coler, Susan M (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Felt, Barbara J. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Gillette, Adam A. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Green, Llezlie Lloren (New York)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Heins, Samuel D. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Kaster, James H. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Lieder, Michael D. (District of Columbia)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Macmenamin, Susan E. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Madsen, Sara L. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Patton, Teresa K (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Schaefer, Lawrence P. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Schlesinger, David E. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Sprenger, Steve M (District of Columbia)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Sprenger, Paul (District of Columbia)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Stratton, Lisa C (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Webber, Christine E. (District of Columbia)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Aberle, Shari Jerde (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Eng, Holly S A (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Ginder, Mark (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Iwan, Michael (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Klass, Paul B (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Mick, Ryan E. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Raphan, Melissa (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Symchych, Janice M. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000
Other Lawyers Lundberg, Charles E. (Minnesota)
EE-MN-0090-9000

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