High Court Declines Alabama Case Review

February 25, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - US Supreme Court justices have declined a request to review a lower court ruling in a 17-year-old discrimination case involving the Alabama Department of Transportation (DoT).

The request for a high court review involved a ruling by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The ruling stated that plaintiffs who get involved in a lawsuit have the right to block portions of settlements affecting them, according to an Associated Press report.

The long-running case was nearly settled in 2001 when the state of Alabama agreed to pay $60 million to settle claims that the state DoT discriminated against black applicants and workers.

But settlement talks ground to a halt over a provision in the proposed settlement agreement calling for the promotion of black engineers. That’s when the white workers got involved in the case – objecting to the hiring plan, according to the report.

White employees also objected to a plan to give some black civil engineers promotions, even if those engineers had never asked for them.

As part of the settlement, which observers say may well get back on track with the US Supreme Court’s latest ruling, black workers will get $46 million for discrimination, and the whites who intervened will split $8.4 million

Black workers sued in 1985, alleging that the DOT discriminated against black applicants seeking DOT jobs and blacks already with the agency who sought promotions.

The case is Reynolds v Roberts.