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Case Name United States v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority EE-PA-0197
Docket / Court 2:97-cv-01161-MAM ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On February 18, 1997 the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J.") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The D.O.J. sought ... read more >
On February 18, 1997 the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J.") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The D.O.J. sought injunctive and compensatory relief, alleging that the defendant had violated Title VII by requiring applicants to complete a fitness test.

The applicants sought positions as officers with the transit authority's police force. As part of the application process, the applicants had to pass a physical endurance test, which required all applicants to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes. The applicants did not pass this running test and were not permitted to continue with the application process. By requiring such a standard that was more easily achieved by men, the fitness examination was seen as sexual discrimination and having a disparate impact on prospective female employees. The suit was originally filed by the female applicants, and soon after the U.S. government also filed an action against the transit authority. Both suits were combined for trial.

After a bench trial, the Court (Honorable Clarence C. Newcomer) found for the defendant. It found that the run requirement had a severe adverse impact against women, but that the transit authority did establish a job-related and business necessity in the requirement.

On appeal, the United State Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit enunciated a new standard for business necessity, and remanded the case to the court to determine if the defendant had carried its burden of establishing the physical requirements were the minimum aerobic capacity necessary to perform successfully the job of a transit police officer. Based on the evidence presented at both trials, the input of defendant's management, and the comprehensive studies of defendant's experts, the court concluded that meeting defendant's aerobic capacity standard was clearly the minimum required to perform the critical tasks of the job such as pursuits, officer back-ups, officer assists and arrests. The court further found that any lesser requirement simply would not satisfy the minimum qualifications for the job of transit police officer and would endanger the public and undermine deterrence of crime and apprehension of criminals. Judgment was entered again for defendant.

After the Judge Newcomer's ruling was affirmed, the Clerk of Court entered a Taxation of Costs against the plaintiffs, to which they objected. The plaintiffs argued that the Clerk's Taxation of Costs was improper because: (1) the bill of costs expired when the first judgment was vacated by the Court of Appeals, and no bill of costs was filed after a final judgment; (2) the time between the entry of a final judgment and the Clerk's taxation of costs was unreasonable; (3) the petition for costs was effectively abandoned by the Defendant; and (4) expedited deposition transcript fees are not justified. On February 6, 2007 Judge Mary A. McLaughlin found for the defendant and approved the Joint Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal and Release of All Claims. It was ordered that the plaintiffs shall pay defendants court costs in the amount of $45,000.

This case was dismissed on February 6, 2007.

James Floyd - 11/11/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Sex discrimination
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Pennsylvania
Plaintiff Description United States on behalf of prospective female transportation officers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief New Standard of "Business Necessity" established
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
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 ]

2:97-cv-01161-MAM (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/16/2007
General Documents
Opinion (176 F.R.D. 132) (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/13/1997
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (1997 WL 597905) (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/17/1997
Opinion (1997 WL 688824) (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/10/1997
Opinion (1998 WL 341605) (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/25/1998
Opinion (181 F.3d 478)
EE-PA-0197-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/29/1999
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (528 U.S. 1131)
EE-PA-0197-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/18/2000
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (2000 WL 1790125) (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0016.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/07/2000
Opinion (308 F.3d 286)
EE-PA-0197-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/15/2002
Source: Google Scholar
Judgment (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/01/2006
Opinion (2006 WL 3196458) (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/31/2006
Joint Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal and Release of All Claims [ECF# 326]
EE-PA-0197-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/2007
Judges Mansmann, Carol Los Court not on record
McKee, Theodore Alexander Court not on record
McLaughlin, Mary A. (FISC)
EE-PA-0197-0001 | EE-PA-0197-0002 | EE-PA-0197-0011 | EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Newcomer, Clarence Charles Court not on record
EE-PA-0197-0014 | EE-PA-0197-0016
Scuderi, Peter B. (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0197-0012 | EE-PA-0197-0013
Weis, Joseph Francis Jr. Court not on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blustein, Benjamin Jay (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0197-0012 | EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Blutter, Sarah C (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0197-0001 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Churchill, Michael (Pennsylvania)
Epstein, Jules (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0197-0009 | EE-PA-0197-0013 | EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Fenton, William B. (District of Columbia)
Libman, Robert S (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0197-0012 | EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Lohier, Raymond Joseph Jr. (New York)
EE-PA-0197-9000 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Rau, Lisa M (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0197-0012 | EE-PA-0197-0013 | EE-PA-0197-9000 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Ugelow, Richard S (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0197-0012 | EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Votaw, Catherine (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Krenzel, Saul H (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0197-0001 | EE-PA-0197-0009 | EE-PA-0197-0012 | EE-PA-0197-0013 | EE-PA-0197-0015 | EE-PA-0197-9000

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