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Case Name Hulteen v. AT&T Corporation EE-CA-0340
Docket / Court 3:01-cv-1122 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On March 20, 2001, several female employees of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph ("PT & T", a subsidiary of AT&T) filed a lawsuit under Title VII and ERISA against defendants AT & T in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On March 20, 2001, several female employees of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph ("PT & T", a subsidiary of AT&T) filed a lawsuit under Title VII and ERISA against defendants AT & T in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for monetary damages and equitable relief.

While at PT & T, each of the female plaintiffs took temporary leaves of absence due to pregnancy prior to 1979. Pursuant to policies in place at the time, PT & T did not give "service credit" to women who took temporary disability leaves due to pregnancy during the time they were on leave, while it did offer such credit to employees who were on temporary leave due to other disabilities. Service credit is important because it affects "Net Credited Service" ("NCS"), which in turn affects other job benefits such as pension payments, seniority for layoffs, etc. The NCS for each plaintiff calculated by PT & T was carried over to AT & T when they became AT & T employees.

The plaintiffs alleged that the failure to credit them with the time they were on disability leave due to pregnancy constituted discrimination on the basis of sex, in violation of Title VII, and was a breach of the AT & T benefit plan's fiduciary duty to treat all plan members equally, in violation of the ERISA.

On August 11, 2003, the district court (Judge Martin Jenkins) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment as to the Title VII claim, but denied the plaintiffs' motion as to the ERISA claim. The district court's order was based on 1) the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1979 ("PDA"), which includes pregnancy under the umbrella of discrimination due to sex, and 2) the 9th Circuit case Pallas v. Pacific Bell, 940 F.2d 1324, which held that Pacific Bell violated Title VII in calculating retirement benefits after PDA, when it gave service credit for all pre-PDA temporary disability leave except leave by reason of pregnancy.

AT & T appealed, and on March 8, 2006, a panel of the 9th Circuit reversed the district court. Hulteen v. AT & T Corp., 441 F.3d 653. However, on July 19, 2006, the 9th Circuit decided to review the case en banc. Hulteen v. AT & T Corp., 455 F.3d 973.

On August 17, 2007, the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court by an en banc decision. Hulteen v. AT & T Corp., 498 F.3d 1001.

However, on May 18, 2009, the Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit, holding that an employer does not necessarily violate the PDA when it pays pension benefits calculated in part under accrual rule, applied only pre-PDA, that gave less retirement credit for pregnancy than for medical leave generally. AT & T Corp. v. Hulteen, 129 S.Ct. 1962.

On August 10, 2009, the district court dismissed the case.

Kunyi Zhang - 08/19/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Pregnancy discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) AT&T Corporation
AT&T Employees' Benefit Committee
AT&T Management Pension Plan
AT&T Pension Plan
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are all women who were employed by Pacific Telephone and Telegraph (PT & T), a Bell System Operating Company and subsidiary of defendant AT & T.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2009
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)
3:01-cv-1122 (N.D. Cal.) 10/08/2009
EE-CA-0340-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiffs' Notice of Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities In Support Thereof 11/19/2002
EE-CA-0340-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Notice of Motion, Motion for Summary Judgment And/Or Judgment On the Pleadings, and Supporting Memorandum of Law 11/20/2002
EE-CA-0340-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 12/18/2002
EE-CA-0340-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum of Law In Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment 12/18/2002
EE-CA-0340-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply Memorandum In Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment And/Or for Judgment On the Pleadings 01/24/2003
EE-CA-0340-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment 01/27/2003
EE-CA-0340-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (District Court) 08/11/2003 (2003 WL 25777891) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0340-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion (9th Circuit) 08/17/2007 (498 F.3d 1001)
EE-CA-0340-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Opinion (Supreme Court) 05/18/2009 (556 U.S. 701)
EE-CA-0340-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Order of Judgment (District Court) 08/10/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0340-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 03/20/2010
EE-CA-0340-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Berzon, Marsha Siegel (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Fisher, Raymond C. (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Fletcher, William A. (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Gould, Ronald Murray (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Graber, Susan (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Hawkins, Michael Daly (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Henderson, Thelton Eugene (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0340-0011 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Jenkins, Martin J. (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0340-0008
McKeown, M. Margaret (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Paez, Richard A. (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Rymer, Pamela Ann (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Souter, David Hackett (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0010
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0340-0009
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bornestein, Stephanie (California)
EE-CA-0340-0001 | EE-CA-0340-0002 | EE-CA-0340-0004 | EE-CA-0340-0007 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Farrell, Noreen Ann (California)
EE-CA-0340-9000
Hewitt, Henry S. (California)
EE-CA-0340-0001 | EE-CA-0340-0002 | EE-CA-0340-0004 | EE-CA-0340-0007 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Kurtz, Judith E. (California)
EE-CA-0340-0001 | EE-CA-0340-0002 | EE-CA-0340-0004 | EE-CA-0340-0007 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Mickelson, Blythe (California)
EE-CA-0340-0001 | EE-CA-0340-0002 | EE-CA-0340-0004 | EE-CA-0340-0007 | EE-CA-0340-9000
O'melveny, Mary K. (District of Columbia)
EE-CA-0340-0001 | EE-CA-0340-0002 | EE-CA-0340-0004 | EE-CA-0340-0007 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Henderson, Joshua M. (California)
EE-CA-0340-9000
Jackson, Charles C. (Illinois)
EE-CA-0340-0003 | EE-CA-0340-0005 | EE-CA-0340-0006 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Rich, Allegra R. (Illinois)
EE-CA-0340-0003 | EE-CA-0340-0005 | EE-CA-0340-0006 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Sears, Michael J. (California)
EE-CA-0340-0003 | EE-CA-0340-0005 | EE-CA-0340-0006 | EE-CA-0340-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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