University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. EE-NY-0236
Docket / Court No. 08-CV-706 ( W.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On September 9, 2008, in response to charges filed by 18 women, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Sterling Jewelers, Inc., alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through sex-discriminatory employment practices. Specifically, the EEOC ... read more >
On September 9, 2008, in response to charges filed by 18 women, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Sterling Jewelers, Inc., alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through sex-discriminatory employment practices. Specifically, the EEOC claimed that Sterling Jewelers intentionally discriminated against female sales employees by maintaining a system of excessively subjective promotion and compensation decisions and thereby permitting or encouraging managers to deny equal access to promotion and compensation to female employees. The EEOC claimed in the alternative that Sterling Jewelers maintained an excessively subjective system that had an illegal disparate impact on female retail sales employees. The EEOC sought injunctive and monetary relief, including back pay, promotion, compensation for lost benefits and emotional suffering, and development of policies and programs to provide equal opportunities to women and eliminate the effects of past discrimination. The EEOC also sought to recoup the cost of its litigation. The litigation was brought on behalf of the 18 charging parties and all other similarly situated female employees.

The progress of the case has been slow because of numerous disputes over procedure and discovery.

On January 6, 2010, the Court (Judge Richard J. Arcara) denied Sterling's motion to dismiss all claims for conduct preceding the statute of limitations period for the first party to file charges with the EEOC. 2010 WL 86376 (W.D.N.Y. 2010) (holding that the EEOC was not bound by the statute of limitations, which applied only to individuals).

On July 15, 2010, the Court (Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy), among other things, allowed the charging parties to intervene in the proceedings to participate in argument over the scope of a protective order. 2010 WL 2803017 (W.D.N.Y. 2010). For contractual reasons the charging parties were pursuing their claims separately in a class-action arbitration and wanted to be able to receive discovery information from the EEOC, though they were prohibited from sharing information with the EEOC. See Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc., linked below (Clearinghouse ID: EE-NY-0237). The protective order was issued on July 23, 2011.

On April 25, 2011, the Court (Richard J. Arcara) bifurcated trial and discovery into two phases, liability (Stage I) and damages (Stage II). Stage I generally covers the issue of whether there was a disparate impact on female retail employees at Sterling to establish a pattern or practice of discrimination, while Stage II, would occur only if the EEOC prevails at phase I, and covers the individual aspects of each employee's case and whether there was a legitimate business reason for the disparity. The EEOC sought to have the punitive damages determination included in phase I, but the Court rejected that approach. 788 F.Supp.2d 83 (W.D.N.Y. 2011).

The bifurcation was followed by extensive discovery dispute. The case has not left the Stage I discovery process and is ongoing.

Kenneth Gray - 06/14/2013

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Pay / Benefits
Sex discrimination
Direct Suit on Merits
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Sterling Jewelers, Inc.
Plaintiff Description EEOC filing on behalf of 18 female retail sales employees and all other similarly situated female employees.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2008
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing EE-NY-0237 : Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.)
08-cv-00706 (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint, Jury Trial Demanded [ECF# 1]
EE-NY-0236-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (2010 WL 86376) (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/06/2010
Source: Westlaw
Decision and Order (2010 WL 2803017) (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/15/2010
Source: Westlaw
Decision and Order [ECF# 169] (788 F.Supp.2d 83) (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/25/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order (2012 WL 1680811) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/14/2012
Source: Westlaw
Judges Arcara, Richard Joseph (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0002 | EE-NY-0236-0003 | EE-NY-0236-9000
McCarthy, Jeremiah J. (W.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0236-0003 | EE-NY-0236-0004 | EE-NY-0236-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abel, Natasha L. (Pennsylvania)
Biltekoff, Judith Ann (New York)
Curtin, Nora E. (Florida)
Eppers, Donald (New York)
Grossman, Elizabeth (New York)
Hope, Jennifer Lynn (Pennsylvania)
Malloy, Margaret Ann (New York)
EE-NY-0236-0001 | EE-NY-0236-9000
Mays, Lawrence (Ohio)
Mezzetti, Lisa M. (District of Columbia)
Pohl, Anna Marie (District of Columbia)
Sanghvi, Ami T. (New York)
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
Sofferin, Lisa T. (New York)
Stern, Jefferey A (Ohio)
Yang, Jenny R. (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Almon, Lorie (New York)
Dugan, William Francis (Illinois)
Galant, Gloria (New York)
Henry, Marcia (New York)
Horton, Scott Patrick (New York)
Kinson, Francis Patrick (Illinois)
Klein, Daniel B. (Massachusetts)
Maatman, Gerald L Jr. (Illinois)
Monahan, John M. (New York)
Murphy, Brian Daniel (New York)
Ross, David Bennet (New York)
Rossiter, Britt (Ohio)
Scharlat, Richard Ira (New York)
Zashin, Stephen S (Ohio)

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