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‘AN ELEPHANT IN THE PARLOR�: Unwieldy Case Spurs Judges� Ire


— August 6, 2003

More than 18 years of litigation and $112 million in litigation costs haven�t achieved much for the Alabama Department of Transportation, or the plaintiffs who challenged its hiring and promotion policies. In a recent published opinion�the latest of six�the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta criticizes the long-running case and questions the wisdom of a consent decree that apparently allows for plaintiffs� attorney fees even when they don�t prevail. . . .

[S]ince 1985, the parties have filed more than 48 appeals and petitions for review. After a six-month trial, they finally agreed to a consent decree. Approved in 1994, the decree called for the state personnel department to study how people were hired and promoted and then use the study results to improve practices. Complicating matters further, a group of nonblack employees intervened to object to race-conscious provisions of the consent decree

The ABA Journal has the thought-provoking story here.


More than 18 years of litigation and $112 million in litigation costs haven�t achieved much for the Alabama Department of Transportation, or the plaintiffs who challenged its hiring and promotion policies. In a recent published opinion�the latest of six�the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta criticizes the long-running case and questions the wisdom of a consent decree that apparently allows for plaintiffs� attorney fees even when they don�t prevail. . . .

[S]ince 1985, the parties have filed more than 48 appeals and petitions for review. After a six-month trial, they finally agreed to a consent decree. Approved in 1994, the decree called for the state personnel department to study how people were hired and promoted and then use the study results to improve practices. Complicating matters further, a group of nonblack employees intervened to object to race-conscious provisions of the consent decree

The ABA Journal has the thought-provoking story here.

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