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.

HOPKINS v. WATERHOUSE

May 14, 1990

ANN B. HOPKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
PRICE WATERHOUSE, Defendant


Gerhard A. Gesell, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GESELL

GERHARD A. GESELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 The firm of Price Waterhouse refused to make Ann Hopkins a partner. Gender-based stereotyping played a role in this decision. Now this Title VII case is again before this Court on remand from the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court must make a determination as to whether or not, absent sex stereotyping discrimination, Ms. Hopkins would still have been denied a partnership at the time her candidacy first came under consideration by the firm. The burden of proof rests squarely on Price Waterhouse to establish that it would have placed Ms. Hopkins' candidacy on hold, rather than vote her into the partnership, had it not permitted sex stereotyping to affect its decision-making process. Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 109 S. Ct. 1775, 1793, 104 L. Ed. 2d 268 (1989). *fn1"

 The existence of sex discrimination originally found by this Court was affirmed. However, the Supreme Court's decision reversed the holding of this Court and the Court of Appeals as to the nature of Price Waterhouse's burden. The prior decisions held that a plaintiff who has established evidence of discrimination affecting an employment decision was entitled to relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., unless the employer proved by clear and convincing evidence that it would have made the same decision absent discrimination. Both this Court and the Court of Appeals determined that Price Waterhouse had not met this difficult burden. The Supreme Court subsequently held that the employer meets its burden if it proves this proposition only by a preponderance of the evidence. *fn2" Accordingly, the Supreme Court remanded for evaluation of this issue under this less exacting standard. *fn3"

 After the mandate came down via the Court of Appeals on August 4, 1989, this Court held a status/scheduling conference on October 3, 1989. The Court was willing to reopen the record for further evidence in light of the lowered burden of proof, but both parties advised the Court that they wanted the decision on this fundamental remand issue resolved on the basis of the existing trial record. Thus no further evidence was produced by either side. The Court accordingly established a briefing schedule and, following receipt of briefs, heard oral argument on the burden of proof issue on November 15, 1989.

 Ms. Hopkins had failed to present any proof of damages at the original trial. Because the Court of Appeals' decision directed this Court nonetheless to reopen the record to permit Ms. Hopkins to present proof of her damages, the parties were also directed to undertake damage discovery without waiting for a decision on the merits. The Court noted the clear probability that a further round of appeals would ensue regardless of what the Court might decide. Accordingly, discovery on damages went forward and was completed by December 15, 1989, as scheduled. Thereafter, a full trial on damages was conducted on February 28 and March 1, 1990. Post-trial briefing was completed by April 25, 1990. *fn4"

 The Court will first resolve the burden of proof issue on the merits and then will consider appropriate monetary and injunctive relief.

 Merits

 To resolve the remaining issue on the merits, the Court, after reviewing the transcript of the original trial and considering the briefs and arguments of counsel, reaches the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pertinent to the remand. *fn5"

 (1) Price Waterhouse partners are selected annually by its Policy Board with the aid of the Board's Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee develops statistical and other personal information concerning each candidate, inquires specifically into the factual basis of any negative comments received after requesting comments about each candidate from the entire partnership and eventually, following a full discussion by the entire Committee of each candidate proposed that year, recommends that the candidate be accepted, rejected or held over for further consideration. The Policy Board then, after full discussion of the Committee's recommendation, renders a final decision.

 (3) Ms. Hopkins joined Price Waterhouse as a manager in 1978 and was first enthusiastically proposed for partnership in 1982 by her unit, the Office of Government Services ("OGS"). She had worked out of Washington, D.C., with temporary assignments to several other firm offices in different cities.

 (4) Plaintiff's Exhibit 21 reflects comments received from partners concerning Ms. Hopkins directed to the criteria considered relevant to the selection of any partner. Along with many favorable comments, she received more negative comments than any other candidate that year. Some of these negative comments suggested sex stereotyping, while others did not.

 (5) During the review of Ms. Hopkins' candidacy by the Admissions Committee it was apparent that, although there was considerable respect for her abilities and record of achievement and a recognition of the benefits she had brought to the firm, she ranked very low on her interpersonal relations. Even some partners who were most familiar with her work and were strongly urging the Committee and Board to recommend her for partnership in the interests of the firm commented pointedly on her inability to get along with staff and partners. The Chairman of the Admissions Committee testified:

 
We did discuss and we did talk with the partners throughout the whole admissions process that knew Ann Hopkins best. We spoke with the partners who had dealt with her on a day to day basis, partners who had known her casually and there was a basic underlying pervasive theme in all of our discussions and the responses that came through the partner canvas that she, in effect, was -- that she had difficulty dealing with staff, relating to both the partners, the peers within the OGS group and the peers in other offices she visited and she had difficulty in relating and leading and developing staff that worked for her so it was not an isolated comment, but it was a pervasive theme that was running through the comments that ran through all the partners that had contact with her or a substantial number of partners that had contact with her.

 (6) The Admissions Committee wavered between rejecting her candidacy outright or placing her on hold, but ultimately chose the hold option. After full discussion, the Policy Board adopted the Admissions Committee's recommendation. The record does not provide any detailed account of the oral discussion concerning Ms. Hopkins' candidacy within the Committee or the Board. Ms. Hopkins was informed of the hold decision in late March 1983.

 (7) In Ms. Hopkins' year she was the only woman among 88 candidates for partnership. By July 1984, only seven of 662 Price Waterhouse partners were women. In Ms. Hopkins' year 19 male candidates were placed on hold (16 of these were made partner ...


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.