Court Approves $15 Million Settlement in U.S. Marshals Service Race Discrimination Class Action

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2024 (GlobeNewswire) — Sanford Heisler Sharp announced today that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) granted final approval of a $15 million race discrimination class action settlement in a case against the United States Marshals Service. The case was first filed in 1994, and the class includes more than 700 current and former African American Deputy U.S. Marshals who experienced race discrimination in promotions and headquarters assignments and thousands of African American candidates who were denied hire. The final approval of this settlement marks the culmination of one of the longest-running race discrimination cases in the nation.

The class is represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Chairman, David Sanford; partners Christine Dunn, Kate Mueting, and Saba Bireda, and Senior Litigation Counsel James Hannaway.

“This agreement is the culmination of more than three decades of hard-fought litigation combating race discrimination and the settlement will provide meaningful relief for African Americans in the Marshals Service and those denied an opportunity to become Marshals,” said Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler Sharp.

The class charge was originally filed in 1994 and was mistakenly dismissed in 1997. Sanford Heisler Sharp began representing the class in 2004 and was able to reinstate the class charge in 2006. While the EEOC denied class certification in 2007, the EEOC granted Sanford Heisler Sharp’s appeal in 2012. In 2017, the Commission certified a class that included all African Americans denied promotions at the Marshals Service due to race discrimination. In 2021, the EEOC granted a motion to amend, expanding the class to include African Americans who were denied hire as Deputy U.S. Marshals.

“Our class members and class agents have shown remarkable courage and resilience throughout this case, some of them fighting this battle for almost 30 years,” Dunn said. “Thanks to their hard work and dedication, the U.S. Marshals Service is making substantial changes to its processes to help ensure greater racial equity.”

With the final approval of this settlement agreement by the Administrative Judge, class members are eligible for monetary relief. The settlement also provides that the Marshals Service will institute programmatic relief designed to enhance equity, objectivity, and transparency in promotion, hiring practices, and headquarters assignments. These measures include providing DEI and implicit bias training, implementing changes to recruitment processes, providing decision makers with a list of competencies, and implementing a priority consideration program for current employees.

Partner and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Discrimination and Harassment Practice Group Kate Mueting commented, “We applaud the commitment and determination of the class agents and the Agency for working together to work toward improved racial justice at the U.S. Marshals Service.”

The U.S. Marshals Service is a federal agency that provides security to the federal judiciary, apprehends federal fugitives, manages and sells seized assets acquired through illegal activities, houses and transports federal prisoners and operates the Witness Security Program.

Bireda added that the case had a “history of hard-fought litigation on behalf of improving conditions for African Americans at the Marshal Service.”

“This is a momentous day for the class,” Hannaway said. “After decades, we have been able to achieve excellent monetary and programmatic relief.”

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About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, Nashville, and Baltimore. Sanford Heisler Sharp focuses on employment discrimination, Title IX, wage and hour, whistleblower and qui tam, criminal/sexual violence, financial services, and Asian American litigation and finance matters. The firm has recovered over $1 billion for its clients through many verdicts and settlements.

In 2022, The National Law Journal named Sanford Heisler Sharp Civil Rights Firm of the Year, and it recognized the firm in 2021 as both the Employment Rights Firm of the Year and the Human Rights Firm of the Year. Law360 recognized the firm as employment Practice Group of the Year in 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2016. Benchmark Litigation recognized the firm as the Labor & Employment Firm of the Year in 2021 and 2020.

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For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, at 201-788-0142 or [email protected].