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May 18, 2022

Baker Sterchi Secures Denial of Class Certification Bid, Partial Summary Judgment

On May 5, 2022, Baker Sterchi obtained two important rulings in favor of its client, a transportation logistics company, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Plaintiffs filed suit, claiming that our clients violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by failing to promote the plaintiffs and other Black part-time drivers. According to the plaintiffs, the promotional process caused a disparate impact on Black drivers.

In their complaint, Plaintiffs originally sought to represent employees at 27 facilities across 12 states, comprising a class of as many as six hundred employees. Following discovery on issues of class certification, Plaintiffs sought to certify a class of more than thirty employees in Missouri who had not been promoted. Baker Sterchi argued that the plaintiffs had not met any of Federal Rule 23’s requirements for class certification, with particular emphasis on the inadequacy of the plaintiffs’ class representatives. Baker Sterchi further argued that the late-stage substitution of a named plaintiff, who had not exhausted her administrative remedies before the EEOC, meant that no named plaintiff had standing to sue on behalf of a class. As a result, the class had no adequate representative and could not be certified. The Court agreed that there was no adequate class representative and denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.

Baker Sterchi also moved for summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ disparate impact claims, arguing that such claims require arguable disparities to be “statistically significant,” and that without designating an expert in statistics, plaintiffs cannot establish that element of their claims. The Court agreed and entered judgment in favor of our clients on the disparate impact claims.

With these two rulings, the Court has dramatically limited the broad claims that Plaintiff sought to assert against our clients.