University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. Peabody Coal Company EE-AZ-0082
Docket / Court 2:01-cv-01050-MHM ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
The EEOC Phoenix office filed this suit on June 13, 2001 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The suit alleged that defendant Peabody Western Coal's lease agreement with the Navajo Nation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because it mandated a hiring preference in favor ... read more >
The EEOC Phoenix office filed this suit on June 13, 2001 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The suit alleged that defendant Peabody Western Coal's lease agreement with the Navajo Nation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because it mandated a hiring preference in favor of Navajo Indians, as opposed to members of other Indian tribes. The complainants, who intervened in the case, were Hopi Indians who were not hired to work at the coal plant.

Peabody Western Coal moved for summary judgment, arguing that (1) the case could not go forward because the Navajo Nation itself was an indispensable party, but that it could not be joined because the EEOC was not empowered to sue Indian tribes, and that (2) the case presented a nonjusticiable political question. In September 2002, the district court granted the motion, agreeing with the defendant on both counts. E.E.O.C. v. Peabody Coal Co., 214 F.R.D. 549 (D.Ariz., 2002).

The EEOC appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that "[b]ecause the EEOC is an agency of the United States, the Navajo Nation cannot assert its sovereign immunity as a defense to joinder," and that the political question doctrine was not relevant because this case did not require the court to "make a policy judgment of a legislative nature." E.E.O.C. v. Peabody Coal Co., 400 F.3d 774, 776, 784 (9th Cir. 2005).

On remand, the Navajo Nation, after being joined as a defendant, filed a motion to dismiss the suit on numerous grounds. The motion was converted to a motion for summary judgment and granted on September 30, 2006, and the case was dismissed.

Jason Chester - 07/27/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Race
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Navajo Nation
Peabody Western Coal Company
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of one or more workers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-AZ-0018 : EEOC v. Bashas' Inc. (D. Ariz.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
06-17261 (State Court of Appeals)
EE-AZ-0082-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:01-cv-01050-MHM (D. Ariz.)
EE-AZ-0082-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/10/2007
06-17261 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
EE-AZ-0082-9002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/21/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order (214 F.R.D. 549) (D. Ariz.)
EE-AZ-0082-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/26/2002
Source: Google Scholar
Appellate Decision (400 F.3d 774)
EE-AZ-0082-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/10/2005
Source: Google Scholar
Denial of Petition for Writ of Certiorari (546 U.S. 1150)
EE-AZ-0082-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/23/2006
Source: Westlaw
Order (2006 WL 2816603 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 74478) (D. Ariz.)
EE-AZ-0082-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/30/2006
Judgment (D. Ariz.)
EE-AZ-0082-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/02/2006

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