Hotel Workers Denied Class Action Clearance

November 7, 2001 ( -- A judge presiding over a discrimination suit filed by African-American workers at the Adams Mark hotel chain denied their petition to file a formal class action suit.

Judge Charles Smith found that the plaintiffs, who claimed they were denied promotions and were unfairly disciplined, could not point to a “centralized decision making process” affecting them all.

Smith also recommended that 11 of the plaintiffs have their cases sent back to their home districts in Missouri, North Carolina, Colorado and Alabama.

Smith’s recommendations will become the law of the case if US District Judge R Barclay Surrick, who referred all pretrial matters to Smith, adopts them. Lawyers on both sides now have 10 days to lodge objections to the judge’s report.

To reach his decision, Smith reviewed issues relating to class action employment discrimination suits, including application of the “anti-stacking” rule and when to allow plaintiffs who have not complained to the EEOC to “piggy back” their Title VII claims onto claims by those who did.

The decision will also impact plaintiffs’ lawyers who found that one reason the case should not be certified is that they were not adequate class counsel due to their history of mishandling other cases.

-Nicole Halsey