Posted February 27th, 2017.
Class Certification from 1994 to Present; Class Definition Expanded
February 27, 2017 – Washington, DC –The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affirmed class action status in Fogg v. Department of Justice (DOJ), a long-running race discrimination class action lawsuit brought by Sanford Heisler, LLP which represents African American U.S. marshals and detention enforcement officers.
On Friday, EEOC Administrative Judge Sharon E. Debbage Alexander granted Sanford Heisler’s motion to amend the class complaint, affirmed the firm’s expanded class definition, and authorized its requested discovery period extension, rejecting the DOJ’s opposition to these changes.
“We are pleased to have these key elements decided to advance our clients’ pursuit of justice,” said Thomas J. Henderson, Sanford Heisler Senior Litigation Counsel. “We expect the discovery process will further document the racial discrimination to which African American U.S. marshals and detention enforcement officers were subjected with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotions and other workplace conditions within the DOJ.”
Based on Friday’s ruling, the class now comprises all current and former African American Deputy U.S. marshals and detention enforcement officers working for the DOJ from January 23, 1994 through the present. In addition to the initial class representative agent Matthew F. Fogg, the class representatives now include Antonio Gause, Regina Holsey, Thomas Hedgepath, Charles Fonseca, Ivan Baptiste, Tracey Bryce and Theodore Riley. In addition, the discovery period has been extended until December 1, 2017.
Sanford Heisler won a revival of Fogg’s initial claims in mid-July 2013, securing certification of a class of African American federal marshals dating back to July 1994, when the former federal investigator first filed his class action complaint. The 2013 ruling found that an administrative judge had erred in 2007 in tossing out Fogg’s class complaint and ruling that his claims had not met federal commonality and typicality requirements. The matter remains one of the longest running certified class actions in an EEOC Title VII complaint.
“Judge Alexander’s decision levels the playing field for a class of federal employees who have routinely been treated with derision and disrespect,” said David Sanford, the Chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler. “Many of these individuals have been waiting for justice from their employer, the U.S. Department of Justice, for 23 years. We look forward to a class trial in Washington, DC next year.”
Fogg’s 1994 class action complaint asserts the U.S. Marshals Service recruits and hires white employees at a higher rate than African American employees and that its African American employees receive disproportionately harsher punishments than their white counterparts for similar infractions. It also asserts the Service intentionally delays processing discrimination complaints by African American employees and that white employees receive preferential access to special assignments.
The case is Matthew F. Fogg v. Jeff B. Sessions, No. 570-2016-00501X, before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington Field Office.
About Sanford Heisler, LLP
Sanford Heisler, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C, San Francisco and San Diego. Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating cases that have earned over one billion dollars for our clients.The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, whistleblower, consumer fraud, and other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, the firm also represents individuals and has achieved particular success in the representation of executives and attorneys in employment disputes. For more information go to https://sanfordheisler.com or call 646-791-4848 or email [email protected]. For the latest news visit our newsroom or follow us on Twitter at @sanfordheisler.