On January 19, 2005, the plaintiffs, African American men and women, filed a lawsuit pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)-5(f), et seq. against AK Steel Corporation in United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought class certification, a permanent injunction against AK Steel, an order requiring the initiation and implementation of programs that provide equal employment opportunities for African-American employees and applicants, will remedy the effects of AK Steel's past and present unlawful employment policies, practices and procedures, and will eliminate the continuing effects of the discriminatory and retaliatory practices described above, will create a task force to ensure fairness and equality, and will restore the jobs the Plaintiffs would have received if not for AK's policies.
Plaintiffs also sought a readjustment of wage rates and benefits, back pay, front pay, lost benefits, restoration of seniority, damages, lost benefits, preferential rights to jobs, nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages to one individual, and an award of litigation costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that AK Steel has discriminated against them by denying them the right to work in a racially integrated environment free from discrimination and the enjoyment of those benefits, privileges, and terms.
On October 12, 2007, the court dismissed the disparate treatment claims of three individual plaintiffs and granted summary judgment. On November 20, 2007, the Court granted the Defendant's Motion to dismiss the claims of two addditional individual plaintiffs.
On April 9, 2008, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division (Judge Sandra Beckwith) granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment on the disparate treatment claims of four other individual plaintiffs and dismissed those claims with prejudice.
Six plaintiffs remained with viable claims.
On July 2, 2008 the parties submitted a joint motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement.
On October 23, 2008, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division (Judge Beckwih) approved the settlement agreement. The terms of the settlement identified two classes: 1) All unsuccessful African-American applicants who took AK Steel's Screening Employment Test in Middletown after September 12, 2001; and 2) All unsuccessful African-American applicants who took AK Steel's Screening Employment Test in Ashland after August 12, 2001. The plaintiff class was awarded $3,400 per member, which totaled $469,200 for all 138 members. Additionally, each class representative was awarded $10,000 for their contributions to the class. Finally, the agreement called for the defendant to pay $750,000 in attorney fees totaling their payment to $1,279,200.David Miller - 09/11/2010