On January 23, 2004, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and 2000e(k), against AT&T Corporation in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, was a former AT&T employee and asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that AT&T's health insurance policy discriminated against women. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that the defendant's health insurance plan, which did not provide prescription contraceptives (birth control) before 2002 and only through the mail after 2002, violated female employees' civil rights.
The action originally started in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, but was transferred to Missouri on May 12, 2003. This is the date on which the docket begins. Originally, there were two plaintiffs on the case, but one dropped out of the litigation. Thus, a single plaintiff carried forth the case.
On September 3, 2004, the Court (Judge Sachs) denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification. In the opinion, the Court barely discussed the requirements for a class-action lawsuit, except to point out typicality. The plaintiff, since the suit began, had stopped taking birth control and was seeking to get pregnant. Therefore, the Court declared that a class could not be certified without a class representative who would have an ongoing interest in the prayed-for relief. The plaintiff wanted to recover her past expenditures on the prescribed contraceptives. The Women's Law project came onto the case as an amicus. After a lengthy discovery period, the Court made another ruling.
On June 7, 2006, the Court (Judge Sachs) granted the plaintiff's motion for class certification as to the damages in the complaint. The class was comprised of female employees of AT&T, who paid for their own prescription contraception from the dates of October 31, 2001 to July 2, 2002. The Court did not certify the claims for injunctive or declaratory relief because as of 2002, the health insurance provider covered birth control through mail order. While the cost of the plaintiff's potential recovery was relatively small, $68.07, the class action potential in the litigation, given AT&T's size made both parties fight vigorously. According to the docket, neither side was content with this decision. The plaintiff wanted the period of time for damages claims to be extended, and the defendant did not approve of the decision at all. Ultimately, the plaintiffs filed an appeal.
On June 1, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a preliminary judgment to the District Court (Judge Sachs). The Circuit Court advised the District Court to review the findings of another recent case, In Re Union Pacific Railroad Employment Practices Litigation, 479 F.3d 936 (8th Cir. 2007). This case featured a ruling that was fundamentally at odds with the decision of the District Court on June 7, 2006.
On October 22, 2007, the District Court (Judge Sachs) vacated its previous decision, and ordered a decision in favor of the defendant. The case was closed the next day on October 23, 2007.Matthew Aibel - 05/06/2008