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Case Name Breen v. Mineta EE-DC-0040
Docket / Court 1:05-cv-00654-RWR ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On March 31, 2005, several current or former employees of the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) who were forty years old or older filed this age discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, against the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (“ ... read more >
On March 31, 2005, several current or former employees of the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) who were forty years old or older filed this age discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, against the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”).

The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). They sought injunctive relief, back pay and benefits, front pay, record correction, and attorney fees, alleging that the FAA and DOT discriminated against them by targeting their jobs for outsourcing and terminating their federal employment on the basis of age. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the FAA violated the ADEA through their decision, as announced on February 1, 2005, to contract out the Flight Service component of Air Traffic Control, resulting in the termination of the plaintiffs' positions with the FAA, the elimination or reduction of their pay and retirement benefits, and the premature termination of their federal employment.

On June 26, 2005, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction to stop the FAA from outsourcing the Flight Service component. The court (Judge Richard W. Roberts) denied this motion on September 30, 2005, concluding that the plaintiffs’ projected job loss was not likely to constitute irreparable harm because it could be corrected by money damages. 2005 WL 3276163. The plaintiffs filed an interlocutory appeal to the D.C. Circuit on October 5, 2005, but the D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court's denial on December 28, 2005.

On June 29, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the class, but the court did not rule on this motion. The case instead moved forward with the plaintiffs constituting a putative (uncertified) class of over eight-hundred members. In the meantime, the plaintiffs sought to add many additional plaintiffs. The court granted a motion to add new plaintiffs on March 31, 2006.

On August 24, 2005, the defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. Judge Roberts denied this motion on January 8, 2007, holding that the court had jurisdiction over the case, the defendants did not have sovereign immunity under the ADEA, and summary judgment would be premature without discovery. 474 F.Supp.2d 1.

For the next several months, the parties engaged in discovery. This process was interrupted when, on June 8, 2007, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Gebhardt & Associates, moved to withdraw as counsel. After the plaintiffs’ former union could no longer pay for the representation, Gebhardt had sought payment from the individual plaintiffs. More than 700 of the 912 individual plaintiffs had not paid attorney fees or expenses, putting the firm in a position of providing pro-bono representation for hundreds of plaintiffs. The defendants opposed this motion, concerned that a case involving more than 900 pro-se plaintiffs would turn into a logistical nightmare for the defendants’ attorneys. On September 14, 2007, proceedings were held before Judge Roberts. He denied the plaintiff’s motion to withdraw attorney as to all but 20 individual plaintiffs who specifically declared they wished to proceed pro se.

With so many plaintiffs living all across the country, much of the litigation concerned the dismissal of individual plaintiffs who failed to respond to letters asking whether they wanted to continue with the case. Three such plaintiffs moved for reconsideration of their dismissal. Judge Roberts denied their requests on February 17, 2009. 597 F.Supp.2d 84. Other individuals sought to enter the litigation. On January 7, 2008, Judge Roberts denied the motion to join or intervene, holding that the individuals missed the deadline to join. 529 F.Supp.2d 24.

On April 27, 2009, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, and on June 15, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. For years following this, the court did not rule on these motions. On May 21, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion to expedite consideration of their cross-motion for summary judgment. After they filed this motion, the docket remained inactive for nearly two years, until April 1, 2016, when it was reassigned to Judge Paul L. Friedman following Judge Robert’s retirement.

On June 30, 2016, the court issued a minute order directing the parties to update the court on the background and status of the case, including whether there was a need for new briefing on the cross-motions for summary judgment and whether the parties were amenable to mediation.

On September 27, 2016, the plaintiffs withdrew the cross-motion for summary judgment and instead filed a supplemental brief in opposition to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on September 30, 2016. Attorneys for the plaintiffs also changed, and on December 14, 2016, Judge Friedman granted Gebhardt’s motion to withdraw as attorney, satisfied that the plaintiffs were adequately represented by new counsel. 220 F.Supp.3d 130.

On May 26, 2017, Judge Friedman granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment regarding the plaintiffs’ disparate impact claim, but denied the motion regarding the plaintiff's’ disparate treatment claims. 2017 WL 2312884. On August 18, 2017, the plaintiffs moved to substitute the personal representatives for estates of deceased plaintiffs. Judge Friedman issued an order on October 16, directing the plaintiffs to clarify “whether counsel do in fact represent the personal representatives of the decedents’ estates.” 2017 WL 4675733. As of December 2017, there was no further action and the case was ongoing.

Jordan Rossen - 09/03/2010
MJ Koo - 03/13/2017
Gabriela Hybel - 11/29/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Transportation
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.
Defendant(s) Federal Aviation Administration
United States Department of Transportation
Plaintiff Description A putative class comprised of flight service air traffic control specialists who are 40 years old or older and are currently or formerly employed at the Federal Aviation Administration of the Department of Transportation.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Microsoft Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
Date: Oct. 14, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Age Discrimination Class Action seeks Fair Employment for Older PwC Applicants
http://www.pwcagecase.com/
Date: Apr. 27, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Smith Barney Gender Discrimination
https://www.lieffcabraser.com/employment/smith-barney/
Date: August 2008
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Date: Mar. 1, 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
Date: Apr. 1, 2001
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:05-cv-00654 (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 3]
EE-DC-0040-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion To Dismiss Or, In The Alternative, For Summary Judgment [ECF# 23]
EE-DC-0040-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/24/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Notice of Supplemental Filing [ECF# 30]
EE-DC-0040-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Or, In the Alternative, for Summary Judment (2005 WL 2861274)
EE-DC-0040-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/16/2005
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 34] (2005 WL 3276163) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0019.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/30/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment) [ECF# 46] (474 F.Supp.2d 1) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/08/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Answer To First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 50]
EE-DC-0040-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/05/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (Denying Plaintiffs' Motion To Join Twenty Individuals As Plaintiffs) [ECF# 122] (529 F.Supp.2d 24) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/07/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 247] (597 F.Supp.2d 84) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/17/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment [ECF# 256]
EE-DC-0040-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Cross Motion For Summary Judgment And Opposition to Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment [ECF# 261]
EE-DC-0040-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 268] (2009 WL 4920573)
EE-DC-0040-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/26/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Supplemental Brief in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 310]
EE-DC-0040-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 334] (220 F.Supp.3d 130) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Third Status Report [ECF# 337]
EE-DC-0040-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Privacy Act Protective Order [ECF# 338-3 ] (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 344] (2017 WL 2312884) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 367] (2017 WL 4675733) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0021.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Friedman, Paul L. (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-0015 | EE-DC-0040-0017 | EE-DC-0040-0021 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Roberts, Richard W. (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0040-0003 | EE-DC-0040-0004 | EE-DC-0040-0014 | EE-DC-0040-0019
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cochran, Shaylyn Capri (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Corman, Brian Christopher (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Dann, Mark (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0001 | EE-DC-0040-0006 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Day, Charles W. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0001 | EE-DC-0040-0006 | EE-DC-0040-0008 | EE-DC-0040-0012 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Droste, Meghan Alexis (Maryland)
EE-DC-0040-9000
Garon, Lenore (Virginia)
EE-DC-0040-0008 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Gebhardt, Joseph (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0001 | EE-DC-0040-0006 | EE-DC-0040-0008 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Gebhardt, Daniel K. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0008 | EE-DC-0040-0012 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Gilbert, Gary M. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Herrera, Stephanie M. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Kincaid, Linda A. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-0016 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Rainey, Valencia (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0008 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Sandoval, Lisa R. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Shinnar, Michal (Maryland)
EE-DC-0040-0010 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0002 | EE-DC-0040-0005 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Gardner, Joshua Edward (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0011
Jaffe, William B. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0002 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Kade, Elizabeth Lanier (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Kennedy, Brian (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0002 | EE-DC-0040-0005 | EE-DC-0040-0007 | EE-DC-0040-0009 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Kirschner, Adam D. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0007 | EE-DC-0040-0009 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Marcus, Lisa Z (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0009 | EE-DC-0040-0011 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Mizer, Benjamin C. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0011
Nusraty, Tim (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0005 | EE-DC-0040-9000
Phillips, Channing D (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0040-0011

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