In March 2014, a U.S. magistrate in the U.S. District Court for North Carolina issued a sanction of $22,900 against the EEOC. U.S. Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld held the EEOC liable for spoliation sanctions based on the “negligence, if not gross negligence” because the charging party, Charlesetta Jennings, destroyed evidence after the EEOC filed suit on behalf of her claim that the defendant law firm, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, violated the ADA. The EEOC argued that the sanction as excessive. The magistrate reduced the award of fees down from $29,700, as initially requested by the defendant law firm. The case is EEOC v. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, U.S. Dist. Ct. (M.D.N.C.), No. 1:13-cv-00046.
Also in March, a unanimous 4th Circuit upheld the a $189,000 award of attorneys’ fees in favor of Propak Logistics in its defense of the EEOC’s claims that the company refused to hire non-Hispanics. The Court found that the case was moot when it was filed. Among other things, the Court “found that the EEOC took six years to investigate and eventually file a complaint against Propak. By then, the Arkansas-based shipping and warehouse company had closed the facility at issue, depriving the EEOC of possible injunctive relief, according to the panel.” The case is EEOC v. Propak Logistics Inc., U.S. Dist. Ct. (W.D.N.C.), No. 1:09-CV-311.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More