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Case Name Ward et al v. Von Maur Inc EE-IA-0020
Docket / Court 3:04-cv-00159 ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On December 19, 2004, several African Americans who applied for and were denied jobs at Von Maur brought suit against Von Maur in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. The plaintiffs claimed that the Defendant violated Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §1981, and the Iowa Civil ... read more >
On December 19, 2004, several African Americans who applied for and were denied jobs at Von Maur brought suit against Von Maur in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. The plaintiffs claimed that the Defendant violated Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §1981, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. The plaintiffs also made tort violations, claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs alleged racial discrimination in Von Maur’s hiring practices, including but not limited to failing to interview qualified African Americans, misplacing their applications, discouraging African Americans from applying, subjecting African Americans to stricter scrutiny during interviews and terminating their employment because of their race.

The plaintiffs were represented by a private attorney and sought compensatory and punitive damages. The case was initially assigned to Judge Thomas J. Shields but reassigned to Judge Ross A. Walters on January 21, 2005. The complaint was amended several times in 2005, as the plaintiffs added additional named plaintiffs.

In July 2006, the case was consolidated for the purpose of discovery with a separate private action brought against Von Maur, EEOC v. Von Maur. Extensive discovery followed between 2006 and 2008. On August 29, 2008, the court entered summary judgment for the employer as to claims of twelve applicants because the statute of limitations had passed and some claims failed to establish the required pretext for discrimination. However, claims of five others survived the motion. 574 F.Supp.2d 959

On September 22, 2008, the two cases were consolidated for trial, however, the parties settled on October 29, 2008. 2008 WL 11336227.

In the settlement, Von Maur agreed to:

1. Pay a total of $50,000 in full settlement of the claims, within 10 days of the consent decree.
2. Post a notice for 2 years stating that: Von Maur will not discriminate in hiring on the basis of race, retaliate against any person who participated in this proceeding and that it will train all supervisory, management and human resources department employees regarding race discrimination and Von Maur’s policy prohibiting race discrimination.
3. Hold training sessions regarding the rights of applicants and employees under Title VII, and the employer’s obligations under Title VII, with an emphasis on what constitutes differential treatment of minority employees in the workplace, how to keep Von Maur free of such forms of discrimination, and what constitutes unlawful retaliation. They also agreed to additional training to all managers and all employees and supervisors in its Human Resources Department(s) regarding how to conduct a prompt and effective investigation into allegations, complaints, or charges of employment discrimination.
4. For 2 years, report every 6 months, until June 30, 2010, on information of all applicants for employment, names and races of applicants hired and any complaint of race discrimination.

The case is now closed.

Averyn Lee - 03/10/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Required disclosure
Retaliation Prohibition
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Race discrimination
Private Suit Related / Consolidated with EEOC Suit
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
State law
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Von Maur, Inc.
Plaintiff Description African American residents of Iowa claiming racial discrimination in employment.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2008 - 2010
Filed 12/19/2004
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-IA-0017 : EEOC v. VON MAUR (S.D. Iowa)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
3:04-cv-00159 (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
EE-IA-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/29/2004
Amended Complaint [ECF# 42]
EE-IA-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/07/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Consolidating Cases [ECF# 82] (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment in Part [ECF# 203] (574 F.Supp.2d 959) (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0020-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/29/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 331] (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0020-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Pratt, Robert W. (S.D. Iowa) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0005 | EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Walters, Ross A. (S.D. Iowa) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0004 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Camp, Jean (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Greve, Marlita A. (Iowa) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0002 | EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Hendrickson, John (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Lee, James L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
McBride, Dennis R. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
O'Brien, Dorothy (Iowa) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Pedersen, Erika E. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Weinstein, Jill (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0003 | EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fildes, Terri Lea (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Hubbard, Elizabeth L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Miller, Charles E. (Iowa) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
O'Connor, John Campbell (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Pappas, Matthew P. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000
Reinsch, Diane M. (Iowa) show/hide docs
EE-IA-0020-0006 | EE-IA-0020-9000

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