University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name United States v. Rhode Island Department of Corrections EE-RI-0003
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-00078 ( D.R.I. )
State/Territory Rhode Island
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On February 10, 2014, the United States filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6 ("Title VII"). The United States (the Employment Litigation Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division) brought suit against the ... read more >
On February 10, 2014, the United States filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6 ("Title VII"). The United States (the Employment Litigation Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division) brought suit against the Rhode Island Department of Corrections seeking an injunction to prevent the defendant from engaging in future discrimination and back-pay damages to “make whole” those who had been harmed by the alleged discriminatory hiring.

Factually, the complaint alleged that since 2000, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections had used separate written and video examinations in their screening and selection of applicants for entry-level correctional officer positions. The written examination and video examination were conducted on the same day, and only applicants who passed both were eligible for further consideration in the hiring process. Passing applications were then placed on a list in a descending-rank order based on their examination scores. The plaintiff alleged that this process had a statistically-significant, discriminatory impact on African-American and Hispanic applicants which gave rise to a pattern or practice of unintentional racial discrimination in violation of Title VII.

On April 25, 2014, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing that the Attorney General failed to comply with the procedural prerequisites set out in Title VII or bring the lawsuit within the time period required to obtain back pay. On January 9, 2015, Chief Judge William E. Smith denied the defendant’s motion and the case proceeded to discovery. 81 F. Supp. 3d 182.

After several years of discovery, (see, e.g., 2016 WL 4742265), the parties participated in a settlement conference on March 31, 2017. On January 26, 2018, the parties filed a joint motion for final approval of the proposed settlement agreement which the assigned Magistrate Judge Lincoln A. Almond recommended Chief Judge Smith adopt. Despite an objection from a prospective claimant, Chief Judge Smith approved the settlement agreement on May 11, 2018. 2018 WL 217557. The settlement agreement required Rhode Island to stop using the written and video examination, create a new selection device without a racially disparate impact, hire up to thirty-seven prospective claimants with retroactive seniority benefits, and provide $450,000 in monetary relief to be distributed pro rata.

On May 13, 2018, one complainant filed an appeal of the settlement with U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. All proceedings in the district court were stayed pending the appeal. On July 3, 2018, appellants filed a motion to dismiss. Noting that the appellant was not a party to the suit and not bound by the agreement, the Court concluded it lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal and granted the motion to dismiss. The case is now closed.

Claire Lally - 10/21/2014
Hope Brinn - 12/22/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Hire
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Pattern or Practice
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description The Employment Litigation Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:14-cv-78 (D.R.I.)
EE-RI-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1] (2014 WL 540351)
EE-RI-0003-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 9]
EE-RI-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 22] (D.R.I.)
EE-RI-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 80-1]
EE-RI-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of the Joint Motion for Final Approval of the Settlement Agreement and Responses to Objections [ECF# 85-1]
EE-RI-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 99] (2018 WL 2175557) (D.R.I.)
EE-RI-0003-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Almond, Lincoln D. (D.R.I.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-9000
Smith, William E. (D.R.I.) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0003 | EE-RI-0003-0004 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abdulaleem, Raheemah (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-9000
Banaszak, Elizabeth Belle (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0001 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Bloom, Shayna (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0006 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Geller, Clare F (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0001 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Given, Emily Adams (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Gore, John M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006
Kennebrew, Delora L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0001 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Lopez, Louis (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0001 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Myrus, Richard B. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006
Neronha, Peter F. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0001
Reese, David Nathan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Salazar, Kunti D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Kelly, Kathleen (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0006 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Kelly, Neil F.X. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0002 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Kilmartin, Peter F. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0002 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006
Mullaney, Edward G. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0002 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Ormonde, Mariana E. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-9000
Partington, Rebecca Tedford (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0002 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Yaffee, Ariele (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-0002 | EE-RI-0003-0005 | EE-RI-0003-0006 | EE-RI-0003-9000
Other Lawyers Huffman, Rhiannon S. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-9000
Lyons, Thomas W. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
EE-RI-0003-9000

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