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Case Name Texas v. EEOC EE-TX-0469
Docket / Court 5:13-cv-00255-C ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s)
Case Summary
In 2012, the EEOC adopted a guidance document stating that employers may not categorically exclude felons from hiring. When a felon who was denied employment with the Texas Department of Public Safety filed a complaint with the EEOC, Texas brought suit seeking to prevent enforcement of the ... read more >
In 2012, the EEOC adopted a guidance document stating that employers may not categorically exclude felons from hiring. When a felon who was denied employment with the Texas Department of Public Safety filed a complaint with the EEOC, Texas brought suit seeking to prevent enforcement of the Guidance. This lawsuit, filed on November 4, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, sought declaratory and injunctive relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, alleging that by issuing the Guidance, the EEOC had overstepped the authority granted to it by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The case was assigned to Judge Sam R. Cummings.

On August 20, 2014, the court granted the EEOC’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. It held that the injury that Texas alleged was merely speculative, since the EEOC could not bring a direct enforcement action against the state, but could only refer the state’s case to the U.S. Attorney General for litigation or issue a right-to-sue letter to an aggrieved person. With only a speculative injury, Texas lacked Article III standing to sue. 2014 WL 4782992. Texas appealed this decision on August 25, 2014.

Nearly two years later, on June 27, 2016, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment: as Texas was the object of enforcement, even indirectly, it had standing to challenge the Guidance. Notably, this ruling was guided by the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs v. Hawkes Co., 136 S.Ct. 1807, which had been unavailable to the district court at the time of its 2014 ruling. The Fifth Circuit therefore withdrew the reversal on September 23, 2016, vacated the district court’s original ruling, and sent the case back to the district court for a new judgment in light of Hawkes. 832 F.3d 327.

Nearly a year later, after the district court had denied an EEOC motion to dismiss, both Texas and the EEOC moved for summary judgment on September 14, 2017. On February 1, 2018 the court granted partial summary judgment to Texas. Holding that the Guidance was a substantive rule, promulgated without notice and the opportunity for comment, the court issued an injunction barring the EEOC from enforcing the Guidance until it had “complied with the notice and comment requirements under the APA for promulgating an enforceable substantive rule.” The court declined to rule that the EEOC did not have authority to issue substantive rules, and it dismissed the state’s claim for declaratory judgment.

Both the EEOC and Texas appealed the ruling. On September 30, 2019, the Fifth Circuit (Judges Smith, Wiener, and Elrod) modified the district court’s injunction, upheld the modified version, and upheld the dismissal of the state’s other claims. The court held that the Guidance was a substantive regulation that the EEOC had no authority to promulgate. The modified injunction, therefore, enjoined the EEOC and the Attorney General from enforcing the Guidance against Texas, regardless of compliance with APA notice and comment requirements.

Jordan Rossen - 01/17/2014
Cianan Lesley - 02/24/2019
Gregory Marsh - 07/04/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism (including 10th Amendment)
Discrimination-area
Hiring
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Beverly Harrison
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Texas State Conference of the NAACP
U.S. Attorney General
Plaintiff Description The State of Texas
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 11/04/2013
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Case: Texas V. EEOC
www.naacpldf.org
Date: Feb. 16, 2018
By: NAACP Legal Defense Fund (Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:13-cv-00255-C (N.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0469-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
EE-TX-0469-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment Dismissing Case [ECF# 37] (2014 WL 4782992) (N.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0469-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/20/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Court of Appeals Opinion Vacating Prior Dismissal of Case [Ct. of App. ECF# 42] (838 F.3d 511)
EE-TX-0469-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 62]
EE-TX-0469-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Summary Judgment in Part [ECF# 117] (2018 WL 1087654) (N.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0469-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Opinion] [Ct. of App. ECF# 00515137429] (933 F.3d 433)
EE-TX-0469-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/06/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cummings, Samuel Ray (N.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0002 | EE-TX-0469-0003 | EE-TX-0469-0005 | EE-TX-0469-9000
Smith, Jerry Edwin (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0006
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbott, Greg (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001
D'Andrea, Arthur C. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001 | EE-TX-0469-9000
Farrer, Richard B. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001
Hacker, David J. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Hawkins, Kyle (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Hodge, Daniel (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001
Howell, Dustin M. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001
Keller, Scott A. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Leonie, Andrew D. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Mitchell, Jonathan F. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001 | EE-TX-0469-9000
Nimocks, Austin (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Oldham, Andrew Stephen (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-0001 | EE-TX-0469-9000
Toth, Michael C. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Aden, Leah C. (New York) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Avery, Elizabeth Lauren (California) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Cloutman, Edward Bradbury III (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Hernandez, Philip M. (California) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Kennedy, Brian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Lossia, Dana E (New York) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Merle, Natasha C. (New York) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Montag, Coty R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Powers, James R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Sandberg, Justin Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Spital, Samuel (New York) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Stroup, Robert H (New York) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000
Wilberforce, Nana (New York) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0469-9000

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