University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cook v. Howard Industries EE-MS-0061
Docket / Court 2:11-cv-00041-KS-MTP ( S.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On February 25, 2011, four former job applicants of Howard Industries filed a lawsuit against the company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Represented by private counsel, plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and a class of non-Latino (Caucasian ... read more >
On February 25, 2011, four former job applicants of Howard Industries filed a lawsuit against the company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Represented by private counsel, plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and a class of non-Latino (Caucasian and African-American) applicants who were harmed by the company's alleged discriminatory practices. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Howard Industries denied their job applications on the basis of their race or national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.). The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

On October 5, 2012, the District Court (Judge Keith Starrett) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The court certified the class as "All black and non-Hispanic white persons who applied for a bargaining unit position at Howard Industries' Laurel, Mississippi transformer facility between January 1, 2003, and August 25, 2008, and were not hired."

The parties reached a settlement, and the court issued a consent decree on March 11, 2013, resulting in injunctive and monetary relief. Cook v. Howard Indus., 2:11-cv-00041-KS-MTP, 2013 WL 943664 (S.D. Miss. Mar. 11, 2013). Specifically, the settlement required Howard Industries (1) to create a settlement fund of $1,300,000 to be paid to class members and (2) to offer seventy of the class members a bargaining unit position at its Laurel transformer plant. The class members who qualified for these positions "must initially choose between the Individual Settlement Benefit and the Employment Benefit, but any Qualified Class Member not selected for employment will receive an Individual Settlement Benefit." Lastly, the consent decree provided that Howard Industries pay plaintiffs' attorney fees in the amount of $457,500. The settlement agreement, not including the payment of attorney fees, was valued by the parties at $3,050,000.00.

This case is now closed.

Jordan Rossen - 11/23/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Hire
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
National Origin/Ethnicity
Other
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
White
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Howard Industries
Plaintiff Description Four African-American applicants at Howard Industries, on behalf of themselves and a class of non-Latino (Caucasian as well as African-American) applicants who were denied jobs on the basis of their race.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
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)
2:11-cv-00041-KS-MTP (S.D. Miss.) 03/11/2013
EE-MS-0061-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint 02/25/2011
EE-MS-0061-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Certifying Class) 10/05/2012 (S.D. Miss.)
EE-MS-0061-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement 12/21/2012
EE-MS-0061-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Consolidating Cases 01/04/2013 (S.D. Miss.)
EE-MS-0061-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Motion for Award of Attorney's Fees and Cost Reimbursement 03/11/2013 (2013 WL 943664) (S.D. Miss.)
EE-MS-0061-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Starrett, Keith (S.D. Miss.)
EE-MS-0061-0003 | EE-MS-0061-0004 | EE-MS-0061-0005 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Johnson, J. Clifton II (Mississippi)
EE-MS-0061-0002 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Ross, Lisa Mishune (Mississippi)
EE-MS-0061-0001 | EE-MS-0061-0002 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Carter, Danielle (District of Columbia)
EE-MS-0061-0002 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Hopson, Mark Daniel (District of Columbia)
EE-MS-0061-0002 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Jorgensen, Jay T. (District of Columbia)
EE-MS-0061-9000
Lopez, Cara Viglucci (District of Columbia)
EE-MS-0061-9000
Todd, Gordon Dwyer (District of Columbia)
EE-MS-0061-0002 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Yoder, Richard L. (Mississippi)
EE-MS-0061-0002 | EE-MS-0061-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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