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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Webster v. Fulton County, GA EE-GA-0105
Docket / Court 1:96-cv-02399 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On September 9, 1996 plaintiffs, business owners and a business seeking landscaping contract work from Fulton County, filed suit against Fulton County, GA in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. They alleged discrimination based on race and sex in violation of 42 U.S.C. ... read more >
On September 9, 1996 plaintiffs, business owners and a business seeking landscaping contract work from Fulton County, filed suit against Fulton County, GA in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. They alleged discrimination based on race and sex in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, state law, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically they alleged that Fulton County operated an illegal Minority and Female Business Enterprise program that discriminated against whites and males because it established a pattern or practice of engaging in disparate treatment of businesses owned by whites and/or males even when these businesses submitted lower bids and performed superior work. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages, and fees and costs.

After extensive discover, on February 12, 1999 the district court (Judge Thomas Thrash) denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion for summary judgment. On March 1, 1999 the district court (Judge Thrash) denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The case proceeded to a bench trial. On June 11, 1999 the district court (Judge Thrash) ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the basis of a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Plaintiffs were granted declaratory and injunctive relief such that the program was declared unconstitutional and Fulton County was enjoined from using racial, ethnic or gender participation goals in accepting or rejecting bids, determining whether bidders are responsive and responsible bidders and in the awarding of Fulton County contracts.

Defendant appealed but on July 19, 2000 the Eleventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals (Judge Anderson, Judge Dubina, and Judge Hill) affirmed. In the meantime a jury trial concerning any monetary damages was conducted and on February 24, 2000 the plaintiffs were awarded $8,750.00 plus costs of $4,399.83. On September 18, 2000 the district court (Judge Thrash) awarded plaintiffs additional fees and costs totaling $1,105,608.09. The Supreme Court declined to issue a writ of certiorari on March 29, 2001. On June 22, 2001 and April 10, 2003 plaintiffs were awarded supplemental fees totaling $110,791.37 for work on various unsuccessful appeals.

During discovery the plaintiffs added a retaliation claim alleging that the defendant had ceased to notify them or award them contracts after they had filed suit. The district court (Judge Thrash) had dismissed this claim on February 12, 1999. After the trial plaintiffs appealed this ruling to the Eleventh Circuit. On February 28, 2002 the Eleventh Circuit (Judge Edmondson, Judge Wilson, and Judge Paul) reversed the district court. On March 11, 2004, however, the district court (Judge Thrash) granted defendant summary judgment on this claim. On February 24, 2005 the Eleventh Circuit affirmed without opinion and the case came to a close.

Michael Perry - 08/25/2010

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Sanitation/Public Works
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Fulton County, GA
Plaintiff Description White and/or male owners of contracting businesses in Fulton County and those businesses.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 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
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

99-12216 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
EE-GA-0105-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
00-11644 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
EE-GA-0105-9002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/06/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:96−cv−02399 (N.D. Ga.)
EE-GA-0105-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order (Denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion for summary judgment) (44 F.Supp.2d 1359) (N.D. Ga.)
EE-GA-0105-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 02/12/1999
Order (Ruling for the plaintiff after a bench trial) (51 F.Supp.2d 1354) (N.D. Ga.)
EE-GA-0105-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/11/1999
Brief of Appellants
EE-GA-0105-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/2000
Source: LexisNexis
Initial Brief: Appellee-Respondent
EE-GA-0105-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2000
Source: LexisNexis
Order (Awarding fees and costs) (112 F.Supp.2d 1339) (N.D. Ga.)
EE-GA-0105-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 09/18/2000
Opinion (Reversing the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's retaliation claims) (283 F.3d 1254)
EE-GA-0105-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 02/28/2002
Judges Edmondson, James Larry (Eleventh Circuit)
Paul, Maurice Mitchell (N.D. Fla.)
Thrash, Thomas W. Jr. (N.D. Ga.)
EE-GA-0105-0001 | EE-GA-0105-0002 | EE-GA-0105-0003 | EE-GA-0105-9000
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barge, Richmond Mason (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-0006 | EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9001 | EE-GA-0105-9002
McKee, Patrick W. (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-0006 | EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9001 | EE-GA-0105-9002
Defendant's Lawyers Brantley, Overtis Hicks (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-0005 | EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9001 | EE-GA-0105-9002
Carr, J. Scott (Georgia)
Chandler, Patricia A. (Florida)
Floyd, Deborah McIver (Georgia)
Green, June D. (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9002
Hicks, Charles George (Georgia)
Kirkley, Dorothy Yates (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-0005 | EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9002
Lovett, William Jake Jr. (Georgia)
Martin, Robert L. (Georgia)
Payne, Elizabeth Penn (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-0005 | EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9002
Verrilli, Donald B. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Walker, Linda T. (Georgia)
Wiener, Keith Mark (Georgia)
EE-GA-0105-9000 | EE-GA-0105-9002
Woodward, Brenda King (Georgia)
Other Lawyers None on record

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