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Case Name Kennicott v. Sandia Corporation EE-NM-0065
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00188-JB-GJF ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization Outten & Golden
Case Summary
On February 7, 2017, three current and former female employees of Sandia Corporation filed this class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The plaintiffs sued Sandia Corporation, a federally-funded nuclear weapons research and development contractor, ... read more >
On February 7, 2017, three current and former female employees of Sandia Corporation filed this class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The plaintiffs sued Sandia Corporation, a federally-funded nuclear weapons research and development contractor, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New Mexico Human Rights Act, and the New Mexico Fair Pay for Women Act. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages. The plaintiffs alleged that Sandia’s company-wide policies and practices disadvantage female employees in performance evaluations, pay, and promotions. Specifically, all named plaintiffs allege receiving less pay than comparable male coworkers as a result of these policies, as well as not receiving promotions for which they were eligible and qualified. One of the named plaintiffs raised concerns about the treatment of women at Sandia and alleged that she suffered retaliation as a result.

The defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff’s state law claims on March 17, 2017. Because the named plaintiffs worked for Sandia National Laboratories at its corporate headquarters on the Kirtland Airforce Base, which is a federal enclave, the defendants claimed the federal enclave doctrine precluded plaintiff’s state law claims. In response, plaintiffs moved for jurisdictional discovery on March 31, 2017.

On June 12, 2017, District Judge James O. Browning conducted a telephonic motion hearing regarding defendant’s motion to dismiss state law claims and plaintiff’s motion for jurisdictional discovery. A motion hearing regarding defendant’s motion to dismiss was held on January 19, 2018, and Judge Browning asked both parties to submit supplemental briefs. On March 31, 2018, Judge Browning granted the motion to dismiss state law claims and concluded that the federal enclave doctrine bars the state law claims.

On August 9, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, as well as a motion to stay discovery pending ruling on the motion to dismiss. On September 20, Magistrate Judge denied the motion to stay discovery because the defendant had not met its difficult burden of justifying the suspension of the discovery process that had been ongoing for more than a year.

On October 17, a hearing was held with regard to the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Judge Browning ruled that he would not decide the motion to dismiss until after the class certification hearing and directed the plaintiffs to submit their motion for class certification by March 25, 2019.

On January 18, 2019, Judge Browning ordered that the defendant withdraw its motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ class claims without prejudice.

On January 30, 2019, Judge Browning addressed a discovery dispute regarding class certification and ordered the defendant to produce policy documents from 2018 as well as electronically stored information related to the VP of human resources.

The defendant redocketed its motion to dismiss on April 11, 2019, because the plaintiffs failed to pursue class certification by the court’s deadline of April 1 and failed to seek an extension. The plaintiffs then filed a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice on May 6 and a motion for final judgment on May 17.

Before issuing a final judgment, Judge Browning issued a memorandum opinion on the plaintiff's state law claims under the New Mexico Human Rights Act and New Mexico Fair Pay for Women Act. Judge Browning wrote that these were invalid because, since the alleged discrimination occurred on a military base, federal enclave doctrine applied, and, since federal enclave doctrine predated these New Mexico laws, they were unenforceable on a federal enclave. The plaintiffs claims were dismissed with prejudice.

Judge Browning issued a final judgment on May 24, 2019, dismissing the case with prejudice. The case is closed; the time frame for appeal has lapsed.

Sarah McDonald - 01/19/2018
Sichun Liu - 01/19/2020
Ellen Aldin - 05/20/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State Anti-Discrimination Law
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Sandia Corporation
Plaintiff Description Three current and former female employees of Sandia Corporation, seeking to represent a class of similarly situated current and former female employees employed by Sandia in the United States.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Outten & Golden
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 02/07/2017
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:17-cv-00188 (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0065-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/24/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-NM-0065-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 113] (314 F.Supp.3d 114) (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0065-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 190] (2018 WL 6069635) (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0065-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 213] (2019 WL 366883) (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0065-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/30/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Browning, James O. (D.N.M.) show/hide docs
EE-NM-0065-0002 | EE-NM-0065-0003 | EE-NM-0065-0004 | EE-NM-0065-9000
Fouratt, Gregory James Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Bentley, Cheryl-Lyn (New York) show/hide docs
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Bien, Rachel (California) show/hide docs
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Chan, Lin Yee (California) show/hide docs
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Dermody, Kelly M. (California) show/hide docs
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Elsner, Gretchen Mary (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Klein, Adam T. (New York) show/hide docs
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Levin-Gesundheit, Michael (California) show/hide docs
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Lopez, David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Shaver, Anne B. (California) show/hide docs
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Stork, Elizabeth V. (New York) show/hide docs
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Tevah, Shira J (California) show/hide docs
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Zegeye, Tiseme Gabriella (California) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Burkhardt, Michael S. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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Gordon, Scott D. (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Jaime, Paola Viviana (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Katzenstein, Krissy A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Latimer, Stephanie (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Lovato−Farmer, Cindy Jean (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Lowry, Jeffrey L. (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Parrish, Theresa W. (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Poore, Justin E (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Speights, Grace E (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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