U.S. Marshals Race Discrimination Class Action
Case Type: Race Discrimination
Organization: U.S. Marshals Service
Case Update: On September 26, 2023, Sanford Heisler Sharp and the U.S. Marshals Service announced that a settlement has been reached ending their class action litigation in Fogg v. Garland. Pending final approval by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the settlement provides for a fund of $15 million to be distributed among eligible members of the class, and for the U.S. Marshals Service to institute programmatic relief in the agency’s promotion, recruitment, and hiring of qualified individuals, through improved training and remedial changes to its policies and practices.
For more information on the settlement, please go to https://usmssettlement.com.
Case Overview: Fogg v. Garland is a race discrimination class action before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) against the United States Marshals Service (“USMS”). Our firm, Sanford Heisler Sharp is counsel for the class, which includes over 700 current and former African American Deputy U.S. Marshals and Detention Enforcement Officers who have experienced racism in hiring, promotions, and headquarters assignments from 1994 to the present. The class also includes all African American candidates who applied for Deputy U.S. Marshal positions since 1994 but were never hired.
Hiring Claims: Class Agents allege that the USMS hiring process discriminates against African Americans applying for the Deputy U.S. Marshal position. Class Agents allege that the following policies and practices have caused a disparate impact on African American candidates:
- The minimum qualifications required for the Deputy U.S. Marshal position
- Hiring examinations used at several points since 1994 to assess applicants
- The Agency hiring interview used from 1994 until 2011 or 2012
- The Agency’s lack of objective criteria for selecting a candidate for hire from the hiring register
Promotions Claims: Class Agents allege the USMS merit promotion process discriminates against African Americans. Class Agents allege that the following policies and practices have adversely affected African Americans’ ability to be promoted within the USMS:
- The experience section used from 1995 to 2017 to assess the applicants
- The Merit Promotion Exam used since 1994
- The system used by the USMS management to rank candidates for promotion
- The USMS Director’s ability to select a candidate of his or her choosing without regard to qualifications, or to cancel the position and re-announce it or assign someone into it
Headquarters Assignments Claims: Class Agents allege that the policies and practices for selecting individuals for headquarters positions, particularly within the prestigious Investigative Operations and Tactical Operations Divisions, including through merit promotions, directed reassignments, and temporary duty assignments, have a disparate impact on African American deputies.
If you have information you would like to provide regarding any of these claims, or racial discrimination at the U.S. Marshals Service, please email [email protected].
Am I a Class Member?
The class is defined as: “All current and former African American Deputy U.S. Marshals who were subjected to USMS policies and practices regarding promotions under the Merit Promotion Process, Management Directed Reassignments, and Headquarters Division assignments, and all African American current and former Deputy U.S. Marshals, Detention Enforcement Officers, and applicants never employed who were subjected to USMS policies and practices for hiring and recruitment of Deputy U.S. Marshal positions from January 23, 1994 to present.”
Therefore, you are automatically a class member if you identify as African American/Black AND (1) you were a Deputy U.S. Marshal at any point from 1994 to the present; OR (2) you were a Detention Enforcement Officer or other applicant who applied unsuccessfully to be a Deputy U.S. Marshal at any point from 1994 to the present.
If you are a class member and would like to speak with a member of our team, please email [email protected].
Am I a Class Member if I Have Never Been a U.S. Marshal?
As noted above, you are a class member if you identify as African American/Black and you applied unsuccessfully to be a Deputy U.S. Marshal at any point from 1994 to the present. If this applies to you, please click on the link below and fill out the form below so that we may get in touch with you.
Case History and Current Status:
Matthew Fogg first filed his class complaint in July 1994, asserting that African Americans are systematically discriminated against based on race by the U.S. Marshals Service. Lead Counsel David Sanford, the chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp a leading national public interest law firm, began representing Mr. Fogg in 2004. To read more about Mr. Sanford and the cases he has worked on, click this link.
Due to various procedural hurdles and appeals over the past decade, the case has proceeded slowly. However, in 2017 an Administrative Judge certified the class. Since then, the parties have engaged in fact discovery—the gathering of information through document and data production and the testimony of witnesses in depositions.
In October 2020, a new EEOC Administrative Judge was assigned to the case. In August 2021, the Administrative Judge granted Class Agents’ Motion to Amend the class charge which, among other things, added eight new class agents and expanded the hiring class to include any Black/African American person who applied to be Deputy U.S. Marshals at any point from 1994 to the present.
Brewer v. Holder
In addition to the Fogg class action in the EEOC, Sanford Heisler Sharp litigated a class action race discrimination case against the U.S. Marshals Service in federal court from 2008 to 2019. Herman Brewer Jr., et al. v. Loretta Lynch was filed in 2008 by then-Deputy U.S. Marshal David Grogan in DC District Court. In September 2015, a DC District Court judge denied Sanford Heisler Sharp's motion to certify a class of African American Criminal Investigators in Grades 12 through 15. Sanford Heisler Sharp promptly appealed that decision to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and argued the matter in the Court on September 12, 2016. In July 2017, the Court of Appeals remanded the case with instructions to allow class members to file a new motion for class certification. Because the Fogg EEOC case was proceeding as a class action that included all the claims in the Brewer case, in February 2020, the Brewer matter was dismissed without prejudice in light of the Fogg proceedings. All class members in the Brewer action are class members in the Fogg matter and their claims are thus being pursued in the EEOC.
Questionnaire for Unsuccessful Deputy U.S. Marshal Applicants from 1994–Present
Many of you may have applied a long time ago. We understand that your memory may have faded about the details. Please provide as much information to as many of the questions below as you recall. Any information is helpful to us. If any question is not applicable to your situation, please write “N/A” in the box provided. If you would prefer to speak with someone about your experiences, please call us at 202-221-4003 and identify yourself as a DUSM applicant.
- US Marshals Ink $15M Deal in Decades-Long Race Bias Fight, Law360, September 26, 2023
- Discrimination Suit Against U.S. Marshals Moving After 27 Years(The Root)
- Discrimination Suit Against U.S. Marshals Moving After 27 Years
- Marshals Service employees have alleged racism for decades. Their case may finally be heard. (Washington Post)
- Marshals Service employees have alleged racism for decades. Their case may finally be heard. (Philadelphia Tribune)
- EEOC Certifies Class In U.S. Marshals Race Bias Saga
- Sanford Heisler’s Race Discrimination Class Action Against The U.S. Marshals Service Advances Closer To Trial
- EEOC Upholds, Amends U.S. Marshal Class Alleging Race Bias
- EEOC Okays 18-Year-Old Class Case Against Marshals Service
- U.S. Marshals Win EEOC Class Cert. On Race Bias Claims