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Case Name Reynolds v. Alabama Department of Transportation EE-AL-0101
Docket / Court 2:85-cv-00665 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On May 21, 1985, a group of African American applicants for merit positions and employees eligible for promotion to merit positions at the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, against ALDOT, the ... read more >
On May 21, 1985, a group of African American applicants for merit positions and employees eligible for promotion to merit positions at the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, against ALDOT, the Alabama Department of Personnel, and the State of Alabama. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had engaged in a variety of discriminatory practices against African American employees in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, §2000e, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. According to the complaint, the defendants had engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory behavior that had led to disparate treatment of African Americans and had a disparate impact upon them. Specifically, the defendants allegedly discriminated in hiring, testing, promotions, and training by manipulating the hiring and promotion procedures so as to exclude African Americans from all but menial jobs. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and damages. The case was assigned to District Judge Myron Thompson.

On October 8, 1986 Judge Thompson certified three classes:
1. All black merit system employees of the highway department employed since May 21, 1979;
2. All black non-merit system employees of the department who have unsuccessfully sought employment as merit system employees since May 21, 1979; and
3. All black non-employees who have unsuccessfully applied for merit system employment since May 21, 1979.

On January 16, 2001, the plaintiffs and defendants agreed to divide the plaintiffs into two classes. For the rest of the litigation, black plaintiffs fell into one of two classes:
1. All black merit system employees employed at any time since May 21, 1979; and
2. All black individuals who unsuccessfully applied for merit system employment at any time since May 21, 1979. (The docket does not include this combining of classes, but an explanation can be found in 251 F.3d 1350, at 1353 n.2).

Because much of this docket predates Pacer, we do not know exactly what happened during the early years of this case. On September 21, 1990, Judge Thompson denied a joint motion to approve a consent decree between the defendants and each of the classes. The court did not approve the decree because, after mailing the decree notices to over 4,000 class members, the court received approximately 200 objections, including four from the six named plaintiffs. Specifically, Judge Thompson noted that the named plaintiffs would receive substantial back-pay awards while other members of the classes would receive only token sums without any individualized treatment of their claims. Moreover, the consent decree would bar class members from pursuing their own claims. Finally, the proposed injunctive relief risked both adversely affecting black applicants, and being found illegal under recent Supreme Court precedent (Johnson v. Transportation Agency, 480 U.S. 616 (1987); United States v. Paradise, 480 U.S. 149 (1987)). The court therefore rejected the consent decree, but encouraged the parties to continue seeking a settlement. 790 F.Supp. 1101.

In 1992, the matter went to trial. In 1993, while trial was underway, the parties once again negotiated a settlement. This time, the decree required the defendants to implement objective hiring criteria, follow hiring and promotion protocols, recruit qualified African-Americans, use objective testing methods, and specify minimum qualifications only when they were actually necessary for the job. It also prohibited discrimination and provided for reporting to the court. Specifically, it set quotas requiring that 33% of positions in each job classification be set aside for African-American applicants. To satisfy this requirement, ALDOT was expected to implement an aggressive recruiting campaign. It further demanded the implementation of a grievance procedure for employees. Finally, the agreement provided for further adjudication of individual damage claims to remedy past discrimination. (We do not have access to the original consent decree, but the 11th Circuit opinion includes a description, Reynolds v. Roberts, 251 F.3d 1350).

Several white employees of ALDOT intervened to challenge the race-conscious provisions in the settlement, and Judge Thompson certified a separate class for these intervenors—all non-black employees of ALDOT.

Based on the intervenors’ concerns, the newly proposed consent decree was then divided into three parts: provisions all parties agreed were race-neutral; provisions that the intervenors deemed race-conscious but the plaintiffs contended were race-neutral; and provisions that all parties agreed were race-conscious. On March 16, 1994, Judge Thompson approved only the first part of the new proposed consent decree. This portion created new procedures and qualifications for hiring and promotions at ALDOT. It also required a study of all employees to identify any employees who were assigned duties associated with higher job classifications, and to reclassify these employees to that higher job classification. It further established a grievance process. 1994 WL 899259.

Disputes quickly arose over the implementation of the consent decree.

Issue: Number of Graduate Civil Engineers for Hire
On April 23, 1996, Judge Thompson held for the plaintiffs that the defendants were required to hire ten additional Graduate Civil Engineers (“GCE”), not “up to ten” additional GCEs as the defendants had argued. The court further held that the defendants were required to provide specified benefits to these employees. 1996 WL 420834.

Issue: Personnel Department Validation Study
On July 15, 1997, Judge Thompson appointed a monitor to facilitate implementation. In essence, the decree could not be implemented until the Personnel Department completed a validation study, but the department continued to seek extensions on the deadline. Meanwhile, the ALDOT failed to implement changes to the hiring standards without the study. Judge Thompson ordered the parties to submit proposals for the appointment of a monitor to help create and implement an open and fair personnel procedure for the defendants. 972 F.Supp. 566.

Issue: Article 15 of 1994 Consent Decree
The parties also disputed Article 15 of the 1994 consent decree, which stated:

“In the event such job classification study discloses that existing distinctions in the levels of multi-grade jobs do not reflect actual differences in duties, responsibilities, or qualifications, the jobs will be collapsed or restructured so that (i) they will reflect the actual distinctions, if any, shown by the study and (ii) are capable of being administered and utilized so that only persons occupying that classification perform the duties associated with it on a regular or non-emergency basis.”

On April 17, 1996, after completing the study required by the consent decree, the State Personnel Board recommended and approved a new classification system.

The plaintiffs objected to aspects of the new classification system, arguing that it was inconsistent with the empirical results of the study and that it failed to satisfy the consent decree. Specifically, they requested an injunction modifying the classification plan by collapsing classifications to form one Engineering Assistant classification and one Civil Engineer classification.

The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody. The magistrate recommended that, because the differences in each of the classifications were merely progressions in proficiency, the Engineering Assistant and Civil Engineer jobs be classified into single classifications as requested by the plaintiffs. Over the defendants’ objections, the District Judge adopted the Magistrate Judge’s recommendations on February 11, 1998.

The defendants appealed the decision, but their appeal was stayed from June 1999 to January 2002 as the parties attempted to agree on an alternative multi-grade classification. The stay was lifted after the attempt at settlement failed. Despite the stay of the appeal, no stay was implemented for the order requiring a new classification system. The defendants failed to comply, and the plaintiffs moved to hold them in contempt based on this failure. The defendants then implemented the requirements of the February 11, 1998 order. The Eleventh Circuit finally ruled on the appeal on July 22, 2003, vacating the 1998 order. The Eleventh Circuit held that the plaintiffs had failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that the proposed classifications did not reflect actual distinctions shown in the SPD study. 338 F.3d 1201.

The intervening class also raised issues over how Article 15 was implemented. Specifically, the article entitled each ALDOT employee “to complete a form listing the job duties she was performing and the percentage of time she spent on each duty. Each employee whose form indicated that she was spending a majority of her time performing duties associated with a higher job classification was to be reclassified to the higher level.” On September 20, 1999, the intervenors moved to order ALDOT to show cause why it should not be held in contempt for failing to comply with this component of Article 15. The District Court referred the issue to a special master on April 30, 2003. On August 10, 2004, the Eleventh Circuit held that the intervening class had standing to bring this motion. 380 F.3d 1303. On March 15, 2017, Judge Thompson preliminarily approved a settlement agreement between the defendants and 213 individual intervenors as to Article 15 claims. This order provisionally certified a class composed of “the remaining 213 non-black members of the intervenor Contempt Relief Settlement Class, who are those individual intervenors with remaining Article 15 claims.” The agreement granted $1,000 to each of the 213 class members in resolution of any remaining claims as to reclassification. 2017 WL 1086771. The court further approved attorneys’ fees totaling $150,000 for the intervenors’ counsel. 2017 WL 2466508.

Issues as to Article 15 remained dormant for several years. (For a more detailed history of litigation and procedure, see 2014 WL 3517773).

Issue: Reclassification
Related, the parties litigated over whether a section of the proposed settlement that required the reclassification of African-Americans to the Graduate Civil Engineer position if they met every qualification for the position other than the Engineer in Training examination requirement, which had not been demanded of white applicants. Specifically, the paragraph in the proposed settlement read: “Black persons (a) who are employed as of the effective date of the Settlement Decree with the Highway Department in jobs other than PCE [Professional Civil Engineer], GRE [Graduate Registered Engineer], or GCE, and (b) have a degree in Civil Engineering or Civil Engineering Technology will, within 90 days following the effective date of the Settlement Decree, be offered reclassification to the GCE job.”

On January 23, 1998, Judge Thompson approved this component and ordered its implementation into the settlement agreement. 996 F. Supp. 1118. On May 23, 2001, however, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Tjoflat, Hull, and Propst) vacated this ruling. The Circuit Court held that Judge Thompson’s ruling was not an implementation of an agreed upon consent decree, but rather an implementation of a contentious paragraph by its own initiative. The intervenors had never approved of the Consent Decrees II and III, and ALDOT had withdrawn its consent because it believed the decrees were unconstitutional in light of Ensley Branch, N.A.A.C.P. v. Seibels, 31 F.3d 1548 (11th Cir. 1994), and In re Birgminham Reverse Discrimination Employment Litig., 20 F.3d 1525 (11th Cir. 1994). Due to the contention, such a ruling required proper procedure and litigation. 251 F.3d 1350.

Issue: No-Overlap Provision
The parties also disputed a no-overlap provision in the consent decree, which stated: “Minimum qualifications will not be utilized on examination announcements or to preclude an applicant from examination unless the minimum qualification bears a manifest relationship to skills, knowledges, or abilities necessary to the performance of the job at entry without a brief orientation period and such skills, knowledges or abilities are not addressed in the examination process.”

On December 13, 2001, the defendants moved to remove this provision, arguing that it was novel and contrary to general employment practice. The court appointed a special master to consider and make recommendations on the issue. The special master held a three-day hearing and found that the defendants had made a good faith effort to comply with the no-overlap provision, but had failed because it was unworkable. The District Court implemented the recommendation and effectively removed the no-overlap provision from the consent decree. The plaintiffs appealed the decision, but the Eleventh Circuit upheld the removal of the no-overlap provision on July 22, 2003. 338 F.3d 1221 (a more thorough description of the history of the motion can be found in the Eleventh Circuit opinion).

The removal of the no-overlap provision created problems later in the case when the defendants were held in contempt for failure to comply with the parts of the consent decree that were dependent on the no-overlap provision. On August 30, 2005, Judge Thompson ordered an 85% refund in these fines because the provisions were impossible to implement without the no-overlap provision. He did not order a 100% refund because the defendants were at fault for failure to comply with aspects of the consent decree unrelated to the no-overlap provision. Moreover, he held the defendants at fault for their failure to realize the provision was impossible to implement. 2005 WL 2108141.

Issue: Alleged Misuse of the Grievance Process
The plaintiffs also moved for an injunction prohibiting the defendants from using the grievance process to skirt the competitive requirements of the race-neutral consent decree. As explained by Judge Thompson, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had established a secretive practice where by “a favored employee whose supervisor has selected him or her to fill an out-of-class position would file a grievance to be provisionally promoted to the new out-of-classification position and possibly receive back pay from the time of the appointment, the employee and the supervisor would then enter into a ‘settlement’ of the grievance, and the employee would then receive a provisional appointment, with back pay, to the position pursuant to the so-called settlement agreement. Employees whom their supervisors disfavored, for whatever reason, could not compete for the position, no matter how well qualified.” On March 3, 1998, Judge Thompson issued an injunction requiring an end to this practice. 996 F. Supp. 1130. The non-black employee intervenors appealed the decision, and on March 29, 2000 the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Tjoflat, Dubina, and Story) vacated the order because it prevented the intervenors from using the grievance process developed in the implemented consent decree. 207 F.3d 1288.

Issue: Exams
From October through December of 2002, the plaintiffs also claimed that the certain exams did not comply with provisions in the consent decree requiring the State Personnel Department to search “for effective alternative devices which would have a lesser disparate impact.” Allegedly, the exams were not weighted in such a way so as to minimize adverse impact and the tests were not sufficiently valid. On December 19, 2003 District Judge Thompson denied the motion, holding that the exams and the scores were valid. 295 F. Supp.2d 1298.

Issue: Class Certifications
As discussed above, since January 2001, the plaintiffs were divided into two classes. In October 2001, the defendants moved to decertify the Hiring class, which had been defined as “all African Americans who contend they have been denied hiring opportunities with the Department on the basis of race any time after May 21, 1979.” The defendants argued that the 11th Circuit’s February 2, 2000 opinion had held that individual hiring class members had to individually demonstrate they had been discriminated against using the McDonnel Douglas framework (202 F.3d 1303). The defendants’ argued that the Hiring class certification was no longer appropriate. The parties litigated over the issue for several years, until Judge Thompson granted the motion to decertify the class “after the court has had input from the parties as to how decertification should be made” on November 10, 2008. 2008 WL 4876763.

On May 1, 2012, the Special Master submitted a recommendation on how this decertification should be carried out. 2012 WL 3100768. Judge Thompson adopted this recommendation on July 30, 2012. 2012 WL 3101283.

On March 19, 2015, the court issued a final decertification of the hiring class, finding that the defendants had complied with the procedures for decertification set out in the Nov. 2008 order.

Civil Contempt
On June 25, 1998, District Court Judge Thompson found the defendants in civil contempt for their continued failure to implement most of the consent decree. 10 F. Supp. 2d 1263. On January 31, 2000, he found them again in civil contempt and imposed weekly sanctions for failure to comply by the deadline. 84 F. Supp. 2d 1339. The defendants paid these sanctions repeatedly until February 2005. Over this time, the defendants paid $19,367,000 in sanctions fees. On February 16, 2005, Judge Thompson suspended the fines as the court sought to determine the defendants’ compliance with the consent decree. By 2006, the defendants were refunded $5,774,109.33 of the fees paid. In 2007, the defendants sought a refund of the remaining $13,592,890.67, arguing that their failure to comply with the consent decree had been a result of delays that were not caused by their actions. They further argued that with the return of these fees, they would be able to fund training and recruitment programs to improve diversity within the department and to cover attorneys’ fees. On January 2, 2008, Judge Thompson adopted the special master’s report and recommendation ordering the return of the contempt fees to the court from the U.S. Treasury, to allow the court to consider how best to redistribute the funds. 2008 WL 45529. On April 10, 2008, Judge Thompson ordered $838,500 be refunded to the defendants and referred the issue of the remaining funds to the special master. 2008 WL 1701419.

The remaining funds stayed with the Court and brought about significant litigation. The plaintiffs and intervenors sought an order requiring the funds be used to compensate the victims of the defendants’ contempt, while the defendants continued to seek reimbursement so they could use the funds for training and recruiting. On August 18, 2009, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation denying all party’s motions. Instead the funds remained with the court as individual contempt claims were resolved. 2009 WL 2579346.

Plaintiffs’ Individual Contempt
The defendants’ failure to comply with the consent decree also brought about individual contempt claims by the plaintiffs. On May 29, 2001, the parties agreed to a settlement agreement resolving the plaintiffs’ individual monetary contempt claims through May 2001. It did not resolve any individual non-monetary remedies for contempt or restrict the plaintiffs’ right to seek monetary relief for contempt continuing after May 2001. (A description of this history can be found in the Special Master’s June 19, 2008 report, 2008 WL 5666570). On February 24, 2009, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s September 10, 2008 report holding that individual plaintiffs might be entitled to “make whole contempt relief for racial harassment” distinct from the settled issue of racial discrimination (2009 WL 465449, adopting ECF 8319).

Over the next several years, Judge Thompson considered several individual plaintiff motions for individual contempt claims. He denied most of them based on the special master’s recommendation. These recommendations can be found in the documents below.
- On November 24, 2009, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation denying a motion for an individual contempt claim, on the theory of judicial estoppel – the plaintiff had not included these facts in the September 2001 settlement. 2009 WL 4456339.
- On February 22, 2010, Judge Thompson adopting Special Master’s recommendations denying plaintiff’s claim for individual contempt because “any instatement claims that were not ripe in March 2003 are to be pursued, if at all” in a separate lawsuit. 2010 WL 653843.
- On April 21, 2010, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation denying an individual contempt claim based on judicial estoppel. 2010 WL 16582284, adopting 2010 WL 1663853
- On April 29, 2010, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation denying a plaintiff’s claim for individual contempt regarding training and instatement, but denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment regarding job rotation. 2010 WL 1740882, adopting 2010 WL 1740890.
- On April 29, 2010, Judge Thompson adopted Special Master’s recommendation granting individual-contempt claim as to job rotation but denying it as to his promotion claim. 2010 WL 1740880, adopting ECF 8531.
- On November 28, 2011, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim. 2011 WL 6000880, adopting 2010 WL 8032042.
- On August 30, 2010, the Special Master recommended that an individual claimant’s claims be denied in part and granted in part. 2010 WL 8032041. On November 28, 2011, Judge Thompson rejected this recommendation after it came to light that the individual was now retired. 2011 WL 6000849. He referred the claim back to the special master. On March 8, 2012, the Special Master recommended that defendant’s motion for summary judgment be granted. 2012 WL 1119559. On April 3, 2012, Judge adopted recommendation granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment. 2012 WL 1110121.
- On November 22, 2011, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s December 3, 2010 recommendation granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim regarding instatement, training, and job rotation but allowing the individual plaintiff to pursue a claim as to whether he was disadvantage in taking a qualifying exam. 2011 WL 5858457 adopting 2010 WL 8020469.
- On November 28, 2011, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s January 3, 2011 recommendation allowing a plaintiff to proceed on an individual contempt claim as to his preclusion from promotion. 2011 WL 6000875 adopting 2011 WL 6000767.
- On December 5, 2011, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s March 1, 2011 recommendations that the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim be granted. 2011 WL 6029944, adopting 2011 WL 6029954.
- On July 6, 2011, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s April 26, 2011 recommendation that the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim be granted. 2011 WL 2650244, adopting 2011 WL 2650488.
- On November 28, 2011 Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s June 28, 2011 recommendation that the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim be granted. 2011 WL 5974399, adopting 2011 WL 5984410.
- On February 13, 2012, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s November 2, 2011 recommendation that the defendant’s motion for summary judgment be granted as to the provision appointment process, the backlog appointment process, and Article XIV of the consent decree; but that the individual plaintiff be allowed to proceed with claims regarding promotions and job rotations. 2012 WL 444009, adopting 2011 WL 77277435.
- On November 21, 2011, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation that all but individual’s the job rotation or training claims be denied. 2011 WL 5858389, adopting ECF 8718.
- On December 2, 2013, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim. 2013 WL 6230491.
- On March 31, 2014, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim. 2014 WL 1345979
- On August 18, 2014, Judge Thompson adopted the Special Master’s recommendation granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to an individual contempt claim. 2014 WL 4071591.
Throughout 2017 and into 2019 various individual contempt motions were raised and then dismissed by defendants against plaintiffs.

Back pay issue
Meanwhile, the parties had been litigating over the appropriate back pay award for several years. On April 16, 1997, Judge Thompson ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiff class $34,732,487.00 in back pay. On March 18, 1998, he entered an order explaining how this number was reached. He clarified that the number reached was a reflection of negotiations, and not the amount to which each party might otherwise be entitled. For example, class members were to receive one time payments of back pay, rather than back pay and front pay. 996 F. Supp. 1156.

The ALDOT appealed the decision, alleging that the District Court erred in interpreting the approved Consent Decree to establish a “class-wide liability,” thereby removing a need for class members to demonstrate that they were denied promotions or back pay because of their race. The Eleventh Circuit agreed, and vacated the District Court’s opinion regarding back pay. The Circuit Court held that the defendant had not been found guilty of anything, and criticized the attorneys from both sides for litigation that had “led to nothing but the expenditure of time and considerable resources.” 202 F.3d 1303.

New settlement agreement
On January 16, 2001, the defendants and plaintiffs both moved for approval of a proposed settlement. Fairness hearings were held, where the intervening non-black employees opposed the agreement. On August 29, 2001, Judge Thompson denied the motion, holding that the proposed settlement required the consent of the intervenors. 261 F. Supp. 2d 1331. On September 25, 2001, the parties submitted a modified settlement agreement with the approval of all parties. Judge Thompson approved the settlement agreement the next day. 265 F. Supp. 2d 1289. The agreement placed a three-month moratorium on the sanction fees the defendants had been paying for their failure to comply with the earlier consent decree.

It further vacated the August 29, 2001 order and, based on later court opinions, it appears the January 16, 2001 settlement agreement was later held valid.

In 2006, issues arose over the appropriate interest rate to be paid on the January 2001 settlement. In a Special Master recommendation, the Court stated that the settlement awarded the plaintiff class:
1. $40,000,000 in back pay, compensatory damages, and interest;
2. $4,600,000 for the defendants’ contempt of the consent decree;
3. an amount equal to the amount paid to the Adams intervenors in settlement of their claims relating to defendants’ contempt of the consent decree; and
4. An amount for settlement of certain plaintiff class members’ grievances equal to the amount paid to the Adams intervenors in settlement of Adams intervenor class members’ grievances.

The recommendation further stated that, in September 2001, the intervenors had received $2,400,000 to settle their contempt claims and $1,450,000 to settle their grievances, though no record of these payments can be found in the docket. At that time the plaintiff were not awarded the matching amounts as required by the January 2001 settlement. Later, the defendants failed to pay the appropriate interest for the missed payments, so the Court ordered the defendants to pay an additional $129,803.18 in interest. 2006 WL 3063463

Cost of the Special Master
In October 2002, Honorable Carlos González was appointed as special master. Throughout the course of the case, he addressed a wide range of issues including individual contempt claims. For several years the defendants covered the cost of the Special Master, but in December 2007, they moved to amend the order that had allocated the cost solely to the defendants. They argued that, because they had reached full compliance with the then expired consent decree, circumstances had sufficiently changed to warrant and amendment. Moreover, because the plaintiffs were not liable for the cost of the special counsel, they lacked incentive to expedite a resolution of the issues. On October 27, 2008, Judge Thompson denied the motion, stating “it is finally possible to glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel of this litigation, and the court will not tolerate the unfounded injection of matters that threaten to unduly prolong resolution.” Nonetheless, he left open the option for the defendants to develop a record that the plaintiffs and intervenors had “engag[ed] in a pattern of injecting frivolous matters into this litigation” and seek reimbursement for future costs. 2008 WL 4767725. There appears to have been no further litigation on the issue.

On October 1, 2004, the defendants moved for the court to find them in compliance with Article 19 of the consent decree, which stipulated the grievance procedure to be offered by the defendants. The plaintiffs and intervenors objected to the motion, arguing that the defendants had failed to comply with Article 19 because only ALDOT had offered a grievance procedure. Therefore, employees had no way to file grievances about the State Personnel Department (“SPD”). On August 2, 2006, Judge Thompson granted the defendants’ motion in part, holding that they were in compliance with Article 19 in so far as employees could file grievances about ALDOT, but that they were not entirely in compliance because of grievance process failed to appropriately address complaints against SPD. The parties were directed to come up with another process to address these complaints. Judge Thompson also found the defendants in compliance with Article 1. 2006 WL 2190588.

Throughout 2006, the District Court found the defendants in compliance with several other components of the consent decree (Article 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14) (2006 WL 2576839; 2006 WL 2669343; 2006 WL 3924790)

On June 7, 2017, Judge Thompson issue a final opinion on the intervening non-black plaintiffs. As noted above, the intervenors had originally joined the litigation in 1990, objecting to the race-conscious provisions of the original consent decree. After the new settlement in 2001, the intervening plaintiffs proceeded on cases of individual contempt against the defendants. 16 years later, the two parties reached a settlement agreement on the individual contempt claims, and the court certified the settlement class.

On October 17, 2017, Judge Thompson entered partial final judgement on on the intervenor-contempt-relief settlement class in the action, terminating the class of intervenors.

Although litigation has slowed considerably, the case is ongoing as to individual contempt claims.

Michael Perry - 11/16/2010
MJ Koo - 03/18/2017
Carter Powers Beggs - 12/02/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Provide antidiscrimination training
Retroactive Seniority
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Race discrimination
Direct Suit on Merits
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Alabama Department of Transportation
Alabama State Personnel Department
Plaintiff Description All African American employees of the Alabama Department of Transportation since May 21, 1979.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
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
Order Duration 1994 - n/a
Filed 05/21/1985
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
2:85-cv-00665-MHT-CSC (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [ECF# 82] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0037.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/08/1986
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (790 F.Supp. 1101) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0033.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/21/1990
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Approving Portion I of the Consent Decree) (1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 20921) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0017.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/16/1994
Source: LexisNexis
EE-AL-0101-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/21/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Interpreting and Enforcing a Portion of the 1994 Consent Decree) (1996 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10691) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0018.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/23/1996
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion (Requiring the appointment of a monitor to facilitate the implementation of the consent decree) (972 F.Supp. 566) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/15/1997
Source: Google Scholar
Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge [ECF# 2277]
EE-AL-0101-7505.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/1997
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (Adopting one portion of the proposed consent decree) (996 F.Supp. 1118) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/23/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Order [ECF# 2450] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-7508.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/11/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (Issuing an injunction forbidding the defendant from using grievance procedures to violate the consent decree) (996 F.Supp. 1130) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/03/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Explaining the award of backpay to plaintiffs) (996 F.Supp. 1156) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/18/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Denying defendants' motion for clarification of its obligations under the consent decree) (1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10711) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0019.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/29/1998
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion (Imposing sanctions on defendants for contempt) (10 F.Supp.2d 1263) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/08/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Issuing and injunction requiring defendants to comply with and enforce their anti-discrimination and harassment policy) (8 F.Supp.2d 1314) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/11/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Agreement on Remedies for Contempt [ECF# 4247]
EE-AL-0101-7507.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/1999
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (Finding the defendants to be in civil contempt and fashioning remedies) (84 F.Supp.2d 1339) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/31/2000
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion(Vacating the district court's ruling that the consent decree was an admission and vacating the award of backpay) (202 F.3d 1303)
EE-AL-0101-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 02/02/2000
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Opinion (Vacating the district court's preliminary injunction forbidding intervenors of availing themselves of the new race-neutral greivance procedures) (207 F.3d 1288)
EE-AL-0101-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/29/2000
Joint Motion and Stipulation Concerning Approval of Proposed Settlement Agreement [ECF# 4700]
EE-AL-0101-7509.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (Vacating an injunction issued by the district court) (251 F.3d 1350)
EE-AL-0101-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/23/2001
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Opinion (Denying approval of a proposed settlement) (261 F.Supp.2d 1331) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/29/2001
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Approving slightly modified settlement) (265 F.Supp.2d 1289) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/25/2001
Source: Google Scholar
Order and Opinion (338 F.3d 1221)
EE-AL-0101-0030.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/22/2003
Source: Westlaw
Order and Opinion (338 F.3d 1201)
EE-AL-0101-0039.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/22/2003
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (Denying plaintiff's motion for civil contempt relating to civil service examinations) (295 F.Supp.2d 1298) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/19/2003
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [ECF# 7085] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-7502.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion (380 F.3d 1303)
EE-AL-0101-0032.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/10/2004
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Ordering the return of a portion of the civil contempt fines) (2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 36688) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0020.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/30/2005
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion and Order (2006 WL 3063463) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0034.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/15/2006
Source: Westlaw
Order [ECF# 8096] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-7503.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (Allowing a modification to greivance procedures and finding the defendant in compliance with a portion of the consent decree) (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 88389) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0021.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/06/2006
Source: LexisNexis
Order [ECF# 8264] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-7504.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 8308] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-7506.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
EE-AL-0101-0022.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/19/2008
Source: LexisNexis
Order [ECF# 8319] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-7500.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/10/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (2008 WL 4876763) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0031.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/10/2008
Source: Westlaw
Opinion and Order (2009 WL 465449) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0035.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/24/2009
Source: Westlaw
Opinion [With Report and Recommendation by Special Master] (2009 WL 2579346) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0036.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/18/2009
Source: Westlaw
Report and Recommendation on Procedures to Effect the Decertification of the Hiring Class [ECF# 8841]
EE-AL-0101-7501.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 9046] (2014 WL 3517773) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0023.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/16/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order [ECF# 9100] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Proposal for Resolution of Plaintiffs' Individual Contempt Claims [ECF# 9159]
EE-AL-0101-0027.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/10/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement [ECF# 9191]
EE-AL-0101-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 9194] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion (2017 WL 1086771) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0028.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/15/2017
Source: Westlaw
Order and Opinion (2017 WL 2466508) (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0029.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/07/2017
Source: Westlaw
Opinion [ECF# 9212] (M.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0101-0040.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Barkett, Rosemary (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Carnes, Edward Earl (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-AL-0101-0030 | EE-AL-0101-0039
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Ebbinghouse, Richard J (Alabama) show/hide docs
Fitzpatrick , Raymond P. Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Mattison, Deborah A. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Murray, William Robert (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Simon, Kell Ascher (Texas) show/hide docs
Whiteside, David P. Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Wiggins, Robert L Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Wiggins, Ann K. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Wiggins, Gregory O'Dell (Alabama) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Abbot, Richard Taylor Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Agricola, Algert Swanson Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Ayers, Marc James (Alabama) show/hide docs
Barnett, Henry Clay Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Byrne, Alice Ann (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Campbell, Andrew P (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Daugherty, Robert Ryan (Alabama) show/hide docs
Elliott, Thomas Renfro Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Forrester, Nathan A. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Gardner, William F. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Gratton, Gaile P. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Hetzel, Tara S. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Hoaglund, Eric Daniel (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Huffaker, R. Austin Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Ippolito, Jim Robert Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Isler, Mai Lan Fogal (Alabama) show/hide docs
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King, Troy Robin (Alabama) show/hide docs
Leonard, Ellen Ruth (Alabama) show/hide docs
EE-AL-0101-0024 | EE-AL-0101-9000
Long-Daniels, David Wayne (Georgia) show/hide docs
Loper, David M. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Lyons, Champ Jr (Alabama) show/hide docs
Mark, Robin Beardsley (Alabama) show/hide docs
McGowin, Anne Elizabeth (Alabama) show/hide docs
Mellon, David Roy (Alabama) show/hide docs
Mitchell, Christopher Marlowe (Alabama) show/hide docs
Morris, Laszlo Daniel Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Nettles, Bert Sheffield (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Osborn, Jason Michael (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Scott, Stephen L. (Alabama) show/hide docs
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EE-AL-0101-0022 | EE-AL-0101-9000
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EE-AL-0101-0024 | EE-AL-0101-9000
Wells, Barbara Jean (Alabama) show/hide docs
EE-AL-0101-0024 | EE-AL-0101-9000
Whitehead, Christopher Kyle (Alabama) show/hide docs
Wise, Ronald W. (Alabama) show/hide docs
York, Cinda Ruth (Alabama) show/hide docs
Yuengert, Anne R (Alabama) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Arnwine, Barbara R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Chachkin, Norman J. (New York) show/hide docs
Drake, Russell Jackson (Alabama) show/hide docs
Ferrante, Teresa A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hunter, Chuck (Alabama) show/hide docs
Jones, Elaine R. (New York) show/hide docs
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