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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. Bell Gas, Inc. EE-NM-0015
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-01090-WJ-ACT ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On August 29, 2002, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Bell Gas, Inc. and related corporations on behalf of a female employee. The EEOC alleged that the companies had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights ... read more >
On August 29, 2002, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Bell Gas, Inc. and related corporations on behalf of a female employee. The EEOC alleged that the companies had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq.) by subjecting the employee to a sexually hostile work environment created by verbal and physical harassment from her immediate supervisor, including sexual assault. The EEOC further alleged that Bell Gas had unlawfully retaliated against the employee by constructively discharging her (she was supposedly offered a transfer but was given no further information). The EEOC sought its costs, and monetary and injunctive relief for the employee, including reform of policies and practices, back pay, reinstatement, front pay, job search expenses, compensation for emotional harm, and punitive damages.

The Court (Judge William P. Johnson) approved the employee's motion to intervene in the case on December 23, 2002. Adding her former supervisor as a defendant, she brought claims for violation of Title VII, sexual assault and battery, and several other violations of New Mexico law. She sought substantially the same relief as the EEOC.

The Court clerk made an entry of default against Bell Gas for its failure to respond to the EEOC's complaint, but the default was set aside upon the Court's subsequent finding that the untimely response was an honest mistake. The employee's supervisor represented himself.

After a fair amount of discovery disagreement the parties reached a settlement, which the Court entered as a consent decree on April 6, 2004. Under the agreement the employee received a total of $180,000; $60,000 up front and monthly payments of $2,000 for 60 months, secured by a mortgage lien on Defendants' property. The decree required Defendants to implement policies to keep the workplace free of sex discrimination and foster complaint lodging without retaliation, to distribute the sexual harassment policies to all employees, to provide annual training on avoiding sex-discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, to conduct complaint-investigation training, and to report to the EEOC. The docket shows no further court activity, and the case is now closed.

Kenneth Gray - 07/25/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) A-X Propane, Inc.
Bell Gas, Inc.
Black Gold Energy Corporation d/b/a A-X Express Mart
Cortez Gas Company
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of a female employee
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2004 - 2006
Case Closing Year 2004
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)
1:02-cv-01090-WJ-ACT (D.N.M.) 04/06/2004
EE-NM-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/29/2002
EE-NM-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Complaint in Intervention 01/15/2003
EE-NM-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 02/13/2003 (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Order [Regarding Discovery Motions] 08/04/2003 (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Order [Regarding Plaintiff-in-Intervention's Motion to Compel] 12/24/2003 (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Consent Decree 04/06/2004
EE-NM-0015-0006.pdf | Detail
EEOC Litigation Settlement Report (April 2004) 04/30/2004
EE-NM-0015-0007.pdf | Detail
Judges Johnson, William Paul (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0015-0003 | EE-NM-0015-0006 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Torgerson, Alan C. (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
EE-NM-0015-0004 | EE-NM-0015-0005 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kennedy, Shannon L. (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-0002 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Kennedy, Joseph P. (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-0002 | EE-NM-0015-0006 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Medina, Loretta (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-0001 | EE-NM-0015-0006 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Molina, Veronica A. (Arizona)
EE-NM-0015-0001 | EE-NM-0015-0006 | EE-NM-0015-9000
O'Neill, Mary Jo (Arizona)
EE-NM-0015-0001 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Oliver, Shannon L. (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-0006
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0015-0001
Smith, C. Emanuel (Alabama)
EE-NM-0015-0001 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Komer, Mark E (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-0006 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Long, Nancy Ruth (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-0006 | EE-NM-0015-9000
Moulton, Debra J (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0015-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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