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Case Name Trent v. Missouri Pacific EE-AR-0061
Docket / Court 4:75-cv-00189-GH-HDY ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On June 25, 1975, a group of African-American plaintiffs filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) against the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company and ten separate workers unions in the United States District Court of the ... read more >
On June 25, 1975, a group of African-American plaintiffs filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) against the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company and ten separate workers unions in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief and damages alleging that Missouri Pacific discriminated against black employees and applicants. Specifically, the plaintiffs contented that Missouri Pacific discriminated against black persons on the basis of race with respect to hiring, job assignment, pay, promotion, discharge, demotion, lay-offs, and other terms and conditions of employment. They also alleged that Missouri Pacific maintained a system of segregated departments and job classifications.

Plaintiffs filed their initial motion for class certification on January 28, 1980. Certification was denied by the court (Judge Arnold) on February 11, 1980 without prejudice. On August 13, 1982, the court (Judge Howard) conditionally certified the lawsuit as a class action consisting of three subclasses: the mechanical class (consisting of all present and former black employees in the North Little Rock shops), the maintenance of way class (comprised of all present and former black persons employed in the maintenance-of-way department of the North Little Rock terminal or the Arkansas terminal), and the transportation class (comprised of all black persons who were employed, who sought to be employed, or who have been employed in the transportation departments of North Little Rock terminal or Arkansas Divisions).

A bench trial on liability was conducted between November 1985 and December 1989. On June 6, 1986 the parties reached a settlement for the mechanical and transportation subclasses. On September 18, 1986, the Court approved this partial settlement. The details of the settlement are not known

On July 16, 1993, the court (Judge Howard) ordered that the defendant was not liable for certain groups within the remaining subclass but was for others. The Court decertified part of the previously certified applicant class on grounds that the plaintiff had failed to support a prima facie case, but found in favor of the plaintiffs as to the maintenance-of-way subclass. On April 15, 1994, the Court (Judge Howard) entered an injunction prohibiting all discriminatory practices as defined in the opinion.

The defendant appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeal of the 8th Circuit and on December 11, 1996 the 8th Circuit (Judges Fagg, Loken, and Wollman) vacated the injunctive order and remanded for a trial on damages.

On May 14, 1999, the District Court (Judge Howard) approved a settlement agreement providing the plaintiff class $315,000 in damages and attorney's fees of $565,000. The case was closed on July 16, 1999.

Michael Perry - 10/07/2010

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Race discrimination
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Missouri Pacific Railroad Company
Plaintiff Description All present and former black employees, who were part of either a mechanical transportation or maintenance-of-way subclass.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 06/25/1975
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
E.D. Ark.
EE-AR-0061-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Ark.
Order (partial class certification) (95 F.R.D. 357)
EE-AR-0061-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
E.D. Ark.
Opinion (Ruling on the remaining issues in the liability phase) [ECF# 1149] (826 F.Supp. 1192)
EE-AR-0061-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion (Vacating the injunction imposed by the district court) (98 F.3d 1067)
EE-AR-0061-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
E.D. Ark.
Opinion (Approving Settlement Agreement as to damages) [ECF# 1301]
EE-AR-0061-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Arnold, Richard Sheppard (E.D. Ark., W.D. Ark., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Eisele, Garnett Thomas (E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
Fagg, George Gardner (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Howard, George Jr. (W.D. Ark., E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
EE-AR-0061-0001 | EE-AR-0061-0003 | EE-AR-0061-0004 | EE-AR-0061-9000
Loken, James B. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Roy, Elsijane Trimble (W.D. Ark., E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
Shell, Terry Lee (E.D. Ark., W.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Monitors/Masters Cavaneau, Jerry W. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Young, H. David (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Darrell F. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Chachkin, Norman J. (New York) show/hide docs
Palnick, Lazar M. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Walker, John W. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
EE-AR-0061-0001 | EE-AR-0061-9000
Walker, Horace A. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
EE-AR-0061-0001 | EE-AR-0061-9000
Washington, Ralph M. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
EE-AR-0061-0001 | EE-AR-0061-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Herbert, Douglas C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-AR-0061-0001 | EE-AR-0061-9000
Lavey, John T. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Moore, Michael S. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
EE-AR-0061-0001 | EE-AR-0061-9000
Paulson, Walter A. II (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Shively, Scotty M. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Wolly, Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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