University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name EEOC v. Xerxes Corporation EE-MD-0148
Docket / Court 1:08-cv-01882 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On July 18, 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") brought a civil rights action on behalf of three African-American employees of Xerxes Corporation ("Xerxes") in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division. EEOC alleged that Xerxes was ... read more >
On July 18, 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") brought a civil rights action on behalf of three African-American employees of Xerxes Corporation ("Xerxes") in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division. EEOC alleged that Xerxes was liable for discriminating against the aforementioned individuals

and blacks as a class by subjecting them to a racially hostile work environment based on their race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 ("Title I"). EEOC asked the court for permanent injunction, monetary damages and other relief.

On July 17, 2009, Xerxes filed a motion for summary judgment. On August 17, 2009, EEOC filed a cross motion for partial summary judgment. On November 30, 2009, in a Memorandum Opinion issued by Judge Catherine C. Blake, the District Court granted Xerxes' motion for summary judgment and denied EEOC's cross motion for partial summary judgment. Judgment is entered in favor of the defendant. The District Court based on its conclusion that Xerxes' responses to the reports of harassment were reasonable as a matter of law. Specifically, the District Court held that "whenever Xerxes learned of harassment, it acted quickly and reasonably effectively to end it."

EEOC appealed the case to the Fourth Circuit. On April 26, 2011, in a published opinion delivered by Chief Judge William Byrd Traxler, Jr., the Court of Appeals affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the case back to the District Court.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to EEOC, the Court of Appeals concludes that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Xerxes had notice of the alleged racial slurs and pranks in the workplace prior to February 2006, but failed to respond with any remedial action. Accordingly, the District Court's award of summary judgment for any alleged racial harassment of two employees occurring before February 2006 is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings as to this time period.

With regard to the incidents of racial harassment that were reported on February 3, 2006 and beyond, however, the Court of Appeals holds that Xerxes' response to each reported incident was reasonably calculated to end the harassment and, therefore, reasonable as a matter of law. Accordingly, the District Court's award of summary judgment for the alleged racial harassment as to this time period is affirmed.

claims that Xerxes violated Title VII by creating a racially hostile work

environment for three African-American employees: Keith Wilson, Albert Bernard Pearson, and

Gradian "Roy" Graham. All of the plaintiffs were employed at Xerxes' plant in Williamsport,

Maryland during the events at issue in this case.

This appeal arises from an action brought by the Equal

Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf

of Albert Bernard Pearson, Keith Wilson, and Gradian Graham,

present or former African-American employees of Xerxes

Corporation ("Xerxes "), alleging a hostile work

environment on the basis of race, in violation of Title vn of

the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 ("Title

VII"). The district court granted sununary judgment for Xerxes.

We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand.

On May 16, 1996, the inmates filed a class action against the Florida Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from Florida Justice Institute Inc., sought both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants, in violation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the United States Constitution, persist in using a handcuff cover, commonly known as the black box, despite the fact that the device causes excessive and unnecessary pain and discomfort.

The class action began with the filing of a pro se case by William L. Lee on June 2, 1993. Thereafter, two other inmates filed similar actions. The Magistrate Judge William Sherrill Jr. consolidated the three cases. A Consolidated Amended Complaint was filed on May 16, 1996, alleging a class consisting of "all persons, other than death-sentenced persons, who are currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections, or who will come into the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections, and who will be restrained with the black box security device while being transported between one secure facility and another secure facility in a transport van operated by employees of the Florida Department of Corrections." After the class was certified, a bench trial was held on April 16, 1997. Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed claims of the plaintiff class with prejudice and judgment was entered for the defendants.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. On January 29, 1999, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's decision without a reported opinion.

Xin Chen - 06/08/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Xerxes Corporation
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff, the EEOC, brought this action on behalf of three African-American employees of the defendant.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
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)
1:08-cv-01882-CCB (D. Md.) 04/26/2011
EE-MD-0148-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 07/18/2008
EE-MD-0148-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Protective Order 02/07/2009 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0148-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment 07/17/2009
EE-MD-0148-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
EEOC's Cross Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment 08/17/2009
EE-MD-0148-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum 11/30/2009 (2009 WL 4348589) (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0148-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Circuit Opinion 04/26/2011 (639 F.3d 658)
EE-MD-0148-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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