Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

THOMPSON v. SAWYER

May 8, 1984

DOROTHY M. THOMPSON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DANFORD L. SAWYER, JR., Public Printer, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

BACKGROUND

 OPINION OF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE CHARLES R. RICHEY

 Plaintiffs seek an award of reasonable attorneys fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k) for services rendered in connection with three unsuccessful attempts by Local 4-B of the Graphic Arts International Union, AFL-CIO, to intervene in the above-captioned case. Before the Court are plaintiffs' Application for Attorneys' Fees Against Local 4-B, Local 4-B's Opposition, Plaintiffs' Reply Memoranda and the various affidavits and documents filed with these pleadings or referred to therein. *fn1"

 In May of 1973, five females filed an administrative complaint on behalf of approximately 325 Journeyman Bindery Workers (JBWs) employed in the Bindery Division of the Government Printing Office (GPO) alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16. After an exhaustion of administrative remedies, the plaintiffs filed a class action in this Court. The complaint alleged a broad pattern and practice of discrimination by GPO and requested injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief.

 On October 1, 1979, after full discovery and trial before the Court, this Court issued a memorandum opinion on the issue of liability and found that Grade 4 JBW plaintiffs who operated Smyth Sewing Machines were entitled to relief under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. Following the submission of proposed orders and memoranda, on May 20, 1980, the Court issued a relief order with a supporting memorandum. 499 F. Supp. 1147 (1979). Among the provisions of the order were that plaintiffs were entitled to back pay relief under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII prior to the effective date of those statutes and that plaintiffs were entitled to quota and other prospective relief under Title VII. The Court made several amendments to the relief order on July 8, 1980. Local 4-B filed a motion to intervene in order to have the Court rescind two of these amendments. The Court denied the Local's motion on September 16, 1980 and stayed certain portions of the May 20th order pending appeal.

 GPO appealed the Court's order of May 20, 1980 and plaintiffs filed a cross-appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. *fn2" On November 19, 1980 and December 29, 1980, Local 4-B filed motions in the Court of Appeals for leave to intervene or, in the alternative, to participate as amicus curiae. In two orders dated January 8, 1981 and June 4, 1981, the D.C. Circuit denied these motions.

 On June 16, 1981, this Court entered a Consent Order relating to whether certain provisions of the May 20, 1980 relief order should be stayed. Local 4-B filed a motion to intervene for the purpose of setting aside the consent order. The Court denied that motion on July 31, 1981.

 Plaintiffs now seek reimbursement of their attorneys' fees for successfully defending against the Local's three attempts to intervene as outlined above. The Local challenges the propriety of awarding fees on several grounds including that plaintiffs' are not "prevailing parties" and that its financial condition and national labor policy bar an award of fees. Upon full consideration of the parties' memoranda and exhibits, and the entire record herein, the Court concludes that plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable attorneys' fees from Local 4-B in the amount of $37,245.00 and expenses in the amount of $216.45.

 AS AN UNSUCCESSFUL INTERVENOR IN THIS ACTION, LOCAL 4-B IS LIABLE FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES

 Section 706(k) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)-5(k) provides that "in any action or proceeding under this title, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party. . . a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs. . . ." (emphasis added). The Local essentially argues that plaintiffs did not prevail in their claims against the Local because as an unsuccessful intervenor the Local was never allowed to participate in the substantive aspects of the case as a party. On the basis of the law in this and other circuits, the Local's argument must fail.

 In Moten v. Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers, 177 U.S. App. D.C. 77, 543 F.2d 224 (D.C. Cir. 1976), this Circuit awarded fees against a contractor's association that had not been a party to an original Title VII suit, and that had not even formally presented a motion to intervene. The association, however, did present objections to the District Court concerning the settlement agreement among the parties in the Title VII action. The District Court approved the settlement, the Association appealed, and the original plaintiff moved to dismiss the appeal. The Court of Appeals "easily dismissed the Association's appeal, since it had not sought to be made a party." Id. at 239. In determining that the Association was liable for attorney's fees, the Court noted:

 
The first question is whether any attorneys' fees are taxable against the Association under Title VII, since the Association was not a "party." But the Association purported to become a party appellant when it filed its appeal and the plaintiffs were compelled to defend against its efforts in order to maintain their hard-won settlement agreement. This is not a situation in which the court is being asked to enter an award against a person which has in no way entered its name upon the court records. We think the liberal purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k) are furthered by, and provide authority for, an award against the Association.

 Id; see also Van Hoomissen v. Xerox Corp., 503 F.2d 1131 (9th Cir. 1974) (court granted fees arising out of unsuccessful appeal of denial of motion to intervene).

 As in Moten, the plaintiffs in this case were forced to defend against the unsuccessful efforts of a non-party to alter the relief successfully attained by the plaintiffs after years of litigation work. In this case, by seeking intervention and modification of the District Court's relief orders, the Local "erected substantial obstacles that the plaintiffs had to overcome" in resisting the defendant's discriminatory treatment and attaining the desired and court-ordered relief. See Allen v. Terminal Transport Co., 486 F. Supp. 1195, 1203 (N.D. Ga. 1980), aff'd, 638 F.2d 1232 (5th Cir. 1981), modified on other grounds, 653 F.2d 1016 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 989, 102 S. Ct. 1613, 71 L. Ed. 2d 849 (1982). The actions of the Local compelled the plaintiffs to defend their right to relief with added intensity and effort. Id; see also Haycraft v. Hollenbach, 606 F.2d 128 (6th Cir. 1979). Careful scrutiny of the pleadings submitted by the Local in support of intervention and modification of this Court's relief order, reveal that their primary purpose was to argue for the maintenance of certain promotion opportunities for male bookbinders at the expense of plaintiffs and their judicially ordered relief. Of approximately 200 employees represented by the Local, at the time of the proposed intervention, there was but one female member. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.