University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name United States v. Nassau County Police Department EE-NY-0203
Docket / Court 9:77-CV-01881 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
Prior to 1974, the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) had separate job classifications for male and female police officers, and fewer than 1% of uniformed positions were filled by policewomen. By 1974, the height, weight, age, physical agility, and educational requirements were the same for men ... read more >
Prior to 1974, the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) had separate job classifications for male and female police officers, and fewer than 1% of uniformed positions were filled by policewomen. By 1974, the height, weight, age, physical agility, and educational requirements were the same for men and women. Consequently, the height, weight, and agility requirements had a disproportionate impact on women. Furthermore, a written exam administered to all applicants screened out over 90% of Black and Hispanic-surnamed applicants but only slightly more than half of white applicants. Recruitment and promotions were similarly affected by sex, race, and national origin bias.

As a result, the National Organization of Women brought charges of sex discrimination on behalf of two white women who sought employment with, but were not hired by, the NCPD. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that the NCPD discriminated against women as a class in its hiring, testing, and promotion practices and referred this case to the Department of Justice.

On September 21, 1977, the Department of Justice thus filed this suit under Title VII 42 U.S.C. § 1983 et seq. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the NCPD after it found cause to charge the NCPD with discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and national origin in its recruitment, testing, hiring, and promotion practices.

Documents dated prior to April 27, 1982 are unavailable. Two companion lawsuits, White v. Nassau County Police Department and United States v. Nassau County, were filed in 1982. The former suit also involved the National Organization of Women.

On April 21, 1982, after more than four years of substantial discovery and litigation, the United States and Nassau County entered into a consent decree in which Nassau County agreed to provide remedial relief for Black, Latinx, and female applicants to ensure that applicants of these identities would be considered for employment on an equal basis with other applicants and to remedy the "present effects of the County's alleged prior discriminatory employment practices." The settlement required Nassau County, inter alia, to take certain steps regarding its selection, qualification, recruitment, and appointment of officers so that female applicants would be considered for employment on an equal basis as male applicants. Further, the consent decree required Nassau County to provide remedial relief to certain female applicants who had taken the 1972 examination as part of their application. Relief also included back pay, appointment for those who had successfully completed training, and retroactively applied seniority.

The White Decree, entered during August of 1982, further ordered Nassau County to refrain from engaging in gender discrimination or retaliation, pay class member stipulated sums, and reinstate one of the plaintiffs who had been denied extended maternity leave.

In 1983, the NCPD adopted a new written police officer examination developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Regardless of whether the exam results were ordered by rank or filtered on a pass-fail basis, the exam was found to have an adverse impact on Black and Latinx applicants. Specifically, while 20.2% of all applicants were Black and 13.7% were Latinx, only three (1.5%) and five (2.5%) of the 198 test takers that qualified for the next hiring round were Black and Latinx, respectively. The United States thus contended that the exam lacked validity because it failed to measure the cognitive abilities it was allegedly designed to measure.

As a result of this subsequent action, Nassau County and the United States entered into a settlement, which resulted in broader minority hiring as well as the abandonment of the ETS exam by the NCPD, neighboring Suffolk County PD, and other police departments around the country that used the same or a similar exam.

On May 22, 1990, three white males who took the 1987 police officer examination moved to intervene as plaintiffs in the suit. Under the rescoring method proposed in the parties' earlier consent decrees, the men received significantly lower scores. The prospective intervenors requested relief in the form of sustaining their original scores or assuring them of appointment. In denying the motion to intervene as plaintiffs, the court noted that the prospective intervenors should have been aware that this case implicated their interests since 1987, when Nassau County was unable to hire from the 1987 test. The court noted that the prejudice to the petitioners by the denial of the intervention, but reasoned that the prejudice to them was far outweighed by the prejudice to the existing parties. The court found that granting the motion would put the negotiated settlement at risk and lead to substantial delay in settling the claims of the parties and enabling Nassau County to hire police officers. 1990 WL 145596. Also on May 22, 1990, the court approved a consent order.

The case was reopened and reassigned to Judge Joanna Seybert on July 26, 2002. On the same day, a motion to compel the defendants to comply with the terms of both consent decrees was brought before the court on behalf of beneficiaries of both decrees. The claims were barred by New York's six year statute of limitations. Since it had been eighteen or more years ago, a presumption of laches existed and the burden was on the plaintiff to prove why the laches defense should not apply. The court ruled that the plaintiff's delay in seeking benefits required by the White Decree was unreasonable and inexcusable. On July 20, 2004, the court found that the claims of the U.S. plaintiffs were ripe for review and that the claims of all of the plaintiffs were barred by the equitable doctrine of laches and denied the motion to compel.

On August 11, 2004, the court allowed the defendant the ability to use the current list of eligible officers for promotion to the rank of sergeant in the NCPD to ensure officers for promotion if need be before a new examination could be administered. On October 25, 2005, the list for promotion of the rank of sergeant generated by the January 31, 1999 examination was ordered by the court to be expired on the basis that Nassau County had established an eligible list of officers for the promotion to the rank of sergeant based on the results of the April 2005 examination.

On March 30, 2006, the court held that the plaintiffs' arguments were without merit on the grounds of laches.

From 2008 and onward, activity concerning the case related to gradual extensions of the consent decree's use of the list of eligible officers. On December 9, 2019, the parties entered into a confidentiality stipulation that made confidential certain information about persons about whom the litigation was concerned.

As of September 26, 2021, there is no reason to believe the case is ongoing.

Joshua Arocho - 07/17/2012
Matthew Feng - 09/26/2021


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Hire
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Promotion
Reinstatement
Retroactive Seniority
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Hiring
Promotion
Testing
Training
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Pattern or Practice
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Nassau County Police Department
Plaintiff Description The United States on behalf of female, Black, and Hispanic-surnamed applicants to the Nassau County Police Department
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se 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
Filed 09/21/1977
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
E.D.N.Y.
12/18/2019
9:77-CV-01881
EE-NY-0203-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D.N.Y.
Request of Plaintiff United States for the Admission of Matters by the Nassau County Defendants
EE-NY-0203-0024.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
[Proposed] Consent Order
EE-NY-0203-0029.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
Notice of Motion [Concerning the Defendant's Response to Interrogatories and Production of Documents]
EE-NY-0203-0036.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
Complaint
EE-NY-0203-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
not recorded
12/13/1971
Civil Service Examination Announcement
EE-NY-0203-0018.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
08/16/1983
Affidavit of Melissa P. Marshall
EE-NY-0203-0016.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
08/16/1983
Memorandum of Plaintiff United States in Opposition the Motion of Virginia O'Halpin, et al., to Intervene as Plaintiff
EE-NY-0203-0020.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
09/19/1983
Memorandum of Decision and Order [Denying Motion to Intervene]
EE-NY-0203-0019.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
10/21/1983
Memorandum of Plaintiff United States in Opposition the Motion of Virginia O'Halpin, et al., for Reargument
EE-NY-0203-0021.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
06/21/1984
Interrogatories of Plaintiff United States to the Nassau County Defendants [With Request for Production of Documents Attached]
EE-NY-0203-0028.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
10/02/1984
Second Set of Interrogatories of Plaintiff United States to the Nassau County Defendants
EE-NY-0203-0027.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/22/1985
Response of Plaintiff United States to the Nassau County Defendants' First Request for Admission by Plaintiff [With Attached Affidavit]
EE-NY-0203-0026.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/22/1985
Answers of Plaintiff United States to the Nassau County Defendants' Set of Interrogatories Accompanying First Request for Admission
EE-NY-0203-0030.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/23/1985
Supplemental Answers of Plaintiff's United States to Defendants' First Set of Interrogatories [With Attached Affidavit]
EE-NY-0203-0025.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/31/1985
Complaint in Intervention
EE-NY-0203-0017.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/31/1985
[Correspondence with Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to Intervene and for Class Certification]
EE-NY-0203-0022.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/31/1985
Notice of Motion with Supporting Declarations
EE-NY-0203-0023.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Melissa Marshall
E.D.N.Y.
05/22/1990
Opinion [ECF# 396] (1990 WL 145596)
EE-NY-0203-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
E.D.N.Y.
07/20/2004
Order [ECF# 441]
EE-NY-0203-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
08/02/2004
Notice of Appeal [ECF# 442]
EE-NY-0203-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
08/11/2004
Order to Show Cause [ECF# 443]
EE-NY-0203-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
08/13/2004
Order [ECF# 447]
EE-NY-0203-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
08/17/2004
Order [ECF# 448]
EE-NY-0203-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
09/07/2004
Notice of Appeal [ECF# 458]
EE-NY-0203-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
11/08/2004
Request to Amend Order [ECF# 472]
EE-NY-0203-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
12/20/2004
[Motion] [ECF# 476]
EE-NY-0203-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
08/11/2005
Correspondence Order [ECF# 479]
EE-NY-0203-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
10/25/2005
[Pleading] [ECF# 484]
EE-NY-0203-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
10/25/2005
Order [ECF# 485]
EE-NY-0203-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
03/30/2006
Mandate [Ct. of App. ECF# 486] (175 Fed.Appx. 405)
EE-NY-0203-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
02/12/2008
Order [ECF# 489]
EE-NY-0203-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
12/09/2019
Confidentiality Stipulation and Order [ECF# 509]
EE-NY-0203-0047.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Boyle, E. Thomas (E.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0002 | EE-NY-0203-0003 | EE-NY-0203-0004 | EE-NY-0203-0005 | EE-NY-0203-0006 | EE-NY-0203-0007 | EE-NY-0203-0008 | EE-NY-0203-0010 | EE-NY-0203-0011 | EE-NY-0203-0012 | EE-NY-0203-0014 | EE-NY-0203-9000
Mishler, Jacob (E.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0019
Seybert, Joanna (E.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0001 | EE-NY-0203-0002 | EE-NY-0203-0003 | EE-NY-0203-0004 | EE-NY-0203-0005 | EE-NY-0203-0006 | EE-NY-0203-0007 | EE-NY-0203-0008 | EE-NY-0203-0009 | EE-NY-0203-0010 | EE-NY-0203-0011 | EE-NY-0203-0012 | EE-NY-0203-0013 | EE-NY-0203-0014 | EE-NY-0203-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Colaizzi, Roger A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0024 | EE-NY-0203-0025 | EE-NY-0203-0026 | EE-NY-0203-0027 | EE-NY-0203-0028 | EE-NY-0203-0030 | EE-NY-0203-0036
Gadzichowski, John M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0015 | EE-NY-0203-0020 | EE-NY-0203-0021 | EE-NY-0203-0024 | EE-NY-0203-0025 | EE-NY-0203-0026 | EE-NY-0203-0027 | EE-NY-0203-0028 | EE-NY-0203-0029 | EE-NY-0203-0030 | EE-NY-0203-0036
Geller, Clare F (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0002 | EE-NY-0203-0003 | EE-NY-0203-0004 | EE-NY-0203-0005 | EE-NY-0203-0006 | EE-NY-0203-0007 | EE-NY-0203-0008 | EE-NY-0203-0010 | EE-NY-0203-0011 | EE-NY-0203-0012 | EE-NY-0203-0013 | EE-NY-0203-0014 | EE-NY-0203-9000
Lee, Victoria (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0029
Levi, Edward H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0015
Marshall, Melissa (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0016 | EE-NY-0203-0020 | EE-NY-0203-0021 | EE-NY-0203-0024 | EE-NY-0203-0025 | EE-NY-0203-0026 | EE-NY-0203-0027 | EE-NY-0203-0028 | EE-NY-0203-0030 | EE-NY-0203-0036
Pottinger, J. Stanley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0015
Robinson, William L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0017 | EE-NY-0203-0023
Rose, David L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0015 | EE-NY-0203-0025 | EE-NY-0203-0026 | EE-NY-0203-0030
Seymour, Richard Talbot (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0017 | EE-NY-0203-0023
Shulman, Max R. (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0017 | EE-NY-0203-0022 | EE-NY-0203-0023
Slavin, L. Susan Scelzo (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0001 | EE-NY-0203-0002 | EE-NY-0203-0003 | EE-NY-0203-0004 | EE-NY-0203-0005 | EE-NY-0203-0006 | EE-NY-0203-0007 | EE-NY-0203-0008 | EE-NY-0203-0010 | EE-NY-0203-0011 | EE-NY-0203-0012 | EE-NY-0203-0014 | EE-NY-0203-9000
Trager, David G. (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0015
Ward, Larry G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0015
Wilgus Null, Taryn C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0047
Defendant's Lawyers Axelrod, Michael Charles (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0013
Fox, Tatum J. (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0002 | EE-NY-0203-0003 | EE-NY-0203-0004 | EE-NY-0203-0005 | EE-NY-0203-0006 | EE-NY-0203-0007 | EE-NY-0203-0008 | EE-NY-0203-0009 | EE-NY-0203-0010 | EE-NY-0203-0011 | EE-NY-0203-0012 | EE-NY-0203-0014 | EE-NY-0203-9000
Greenberg, Harry (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0013
Tokarski, Susan M (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0203-0047

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -