The following are examples of verdicts and settlements illustrative of the kinds of cases that have been handled. Each case must be considered on its particular facts and the results in these cases do not guarantee results in others.
Because of Kent's reputation in litigating class actions in a number of cases brought in other parts of the country, the firm has been invited in as co-counsel for class action expertise.
Gender Bias Class Actions
- Newton, et al. v. Sherwin Williams. The firm was co-counsel in this sex discrimination class action filed in Louisville, KY which charged a failure to promote women in Sherwin-Williams paint stores covering several states. The federal court certified a class action and the case was settled by the entry of a consent decree awarding $6,000,000 and substantial injunctive relief in the form of promotion goals.
- Weigmann v. Glorious Food. The firm was co-counsel in this certified class action filed in New York, NY. The case alleged a pattern of not affording equal opportunity to women who were part-time servers at New York’s most prestigious caterer. The suit was settled for full back pay for the class and very stringent injunctive relief to stop the practice from recurring in the future.
- Davis, et al. v. Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, et al. The firm was co-counsel in this class action filed in Atlanta, GA alleging violations of the Pregnancy Act amendment. It was brought to a successful conclusion by settlement.
Race Discrimination Class Actions
- Florida Education Association v. State of Florida. The plaintiffs challenged the requirement of top 20% score on ACT or SAT as a requirement for statewide teacher bonuses. The case was settled. As part of the settlement the Legislature repealed that part of the statute and established a settlement fund of $15,500,00.
- Tucker v. Walgreens. This nationwide race discrimination case was filed in Illinois. It was brought by black current and former employees of Walgreens who were in retail management and pharmacy positions. It alleged that the company failed to promote blacks on the same basis as whites and failed to compensate them on the same basis as whites. The suit was settled for $25, 000,000 and a variety of injunctive relief designed to end the discriminatory practices that gave rise to the suit. The settlement was approved at the fairness hearing in 2008.
- Middleton, et al v. Publix Super Markets, Inc.. This race discrimination class action filed in Tampa, Florida was brought by black current and former employees of Publix who charged that Publix had failed to hire and promote black applicants and employees and discharged black employees. The suit covered all of Publix’s retail grocery stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The federal court granted class certification and the case was later settled by the entry of a Consent Decree awarding $10,500,000 and substantial equitable and injunctive relief including promotion goals in store level managerial jobs, modifications to tests required for promotion, and implementation of mediation process for discharged black employees.
- Wynn, et al. v. Dixieland Foods. This class action filed in Dothan, Alabama, for race discrimination against a multi-state grocery chain charged a failure to promote black employees. The class was certified by the federal court and then the case was settled by the entry of consent decree by the federal court awarding the class over $11,000,000 and substantial equitable and injunctive relief including promotion quotas in all managerial jobs.
- Pollocks, et al. v. State of Florida, Department of Children and Families. This class action suit charged a pattern and practice race discrimination suit against an agency of the state of Florida charging race discrimination in hiring and promotion. The court did not certify the class but after the intervention of numerous class members and a trial on which the federal court found the agency had engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against black applicants for employment, the case was settled for $3,176,000 for 44 plaintiffs.
- Hampton, et al. v. United States Postal Service. This case resulted in a settlement of an action to enforce a consent decree entered by the federal court in a class handled by the firm. The class covered postal employees from Madison, Florida to Pensacola, Florida. The settlement included back pay and injunctive relief for numerous claimants, and implementation of mediation procedures for postal service employees raising discrimination claims which was later adopted at postal service facilities throughout the country.
- Winfield, et al. v. St. Joe Paper. This race discrimination class action against a paper mill in north Florida charged a failure to promote and hire black applicants and employees. The federal court certified a class action and the case was later settled by the entry of a consent decree by the court awarding approximately $3,000,000 and establishing goals that required St. Joe Paper to promote black employees.
- Towels, et al. v. ABC Liquors, Inc.. This race discrimination class action charged that ABC Liquors had discriminated against black applicants and employees by failing to hire and promote them. It resulted in the entry of a consent decree by the federal court awarding significant monetary relief and injunctive relief, including hiring and promotion goals for black applicants and employees and promotions for class representatives.
- Cooper, et al. v. ALCOA. The firm was co-counsel in this case filed as a class action on behalf of the black employees of the ALCOA facility in Davenport, Iowa. It was brought to a successful class resolution by mediation producing back pay for failures to promote and substantial confidential settlements for individual emotional distress claims.
- Williams, et al. v. Wetterau Incorporated. This race discrimination class action against a grocery warehousing and distribution company resulted in the entry of a consent decree awarding significant monetary relief to the class.
- Johnson, et al. v. Wendy’s International, Inc.. The firm was co-counsel in this race discrimination class action involving the Southeast Region of Wendy’s charging that Wendy’s had discriminated against black employees in promotion into management. It was favorably settled on behalf of numerous former and current employees.
- Stallworth v. Monsanto Company. This race discrimination class action challenged the company’s hiring and promotion practices. A settlement of approximately $3,500,000 was reached after five years of Stage II litigation in 1980. In addition, the company agreed to quotas in major job categories of supervisors, technicians, and clericals as well as preferential rights to promotion for large numbers of employees.
- Turner v. Orr. In this class action class action brought by black employees against practices in civilian employment at the Eglin Air Force Base, the firm represented the class Plaintiffs Monitoring Committee in the distribution of $2,000,000 and implementation of Stage II relief in class action brought by blacks against practices in civilian employment at the Eglin Air Force Base.
- Long v. Sapp. In this race discrimination class action, the firm represented black applicants for county employment and obtained for them $750,000 for the county’s violations of the court's order.
- Berry v. Lake County School Board. In this class action, the firm represented a class of black applicants for teacher and administrative positions, obtaining for them approximately $1,000,000 in monetary relief for the applicants for administrative positions.
Other Class Actions
- Beck et al. v. Codils & Stawiarski, et al. In this class action brought under the federal and state debt collection laws, the firm obtained a significant class settlement for class members who charged that they were over-billed by collection lawyers in mortgage foreclosure proceedings.
Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
- The firm has handled and is handling numerous claims of gender bias against various employers, including in particular a number of claims against employers in the securities industry.
- McGrew, et al. v. Confidential Defendant. This suit was filed by five women who alleged sexual harassment. After discovery the case was settled on terms very pleasing to the clients. As is the case in many such cases, the terms of the settlement were confidential.
- Evans, et al. v. Tony’s Garden Patch, et al. Five women filed sexual harassment claims. One was tried successfully to a jury after which all five claims were favorably settled on confidential terms pleasing to the clients.
- Knight et al. v. Grady County. Six women filed sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims against the county and sheriff. After substantial court proceedings but before trial the firm obtained a favorable settlement for all women.
- Myers et al. v. Legal Services of Northwest Florida. The firm represented five women against the employer, obtaining a favorable settlement for all women including changes in the employers policies and practices.
- Clark v. Coates & Clark. The firm reached a successful confidential settlement of an age claim after successfully appealing three times to the United States Court of Appeals from federal court in Thomasville, Georgia.
- Duffy v. Confidential Defendant. The firm represented an executive of a major insurance company, obtaining in a favorable confidential settlement of claims of age and disability discrimination.
- Arrington v. Terminix International. The firm reached a favorable confidential settlement of claims of age and disability discrimination.
Overtime Violations of the Wage & Hour Act
- Henderson, et al. v. Food Lion. This class action for overtime wages under the federal wage and hour laws involved suits in several states including Florida. The Florida case was part of a Multidistrict Litigation consolidation and the pre-trial proceedings took place in Wilmington, NC. The federal court ordered that a notice go out to the class of employees informing them of the suits. Over 100 claims were assigned to the Florida case handled by the firm. Two of these claims were tried and a jury verdict was returned in the Plaintiffs’ favor. The remaining claims were subsequently resolved under a confidential settlement.
- The firm has represented numerous employees who have suffered retaliation as a result of their objecting to discriminatory treatment by their employers. One particularly noteworthy case was Petaccia, et al v. Motel 6, et al. This case was filed in Ft. Myers, Florida as a class action for hostile environment, race discrimination and retaliation arising out of allegations that Motel 6 required its employees to discriminate against black patrons. While the class was not certified, the claims of the lead plaintiff, Petaccia, were tried to an all-white jury that returned a verdict of $2,050,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for the retaliation he suffered while resisting practices of racial discrimination.
- Helfrich v. Confidential Defendant. The firm represented an executive of a national insurance company, obtaining a successful confidential settlement of whistleblower claims.
- The firm is currently representing a number of individuals who have “blown the whistle” on their employer’s illegal practices, including among others cases against a national telecommunications company and a national dot.com information storage company.
- The firm is also counsel in a major “qui tam” suit under the federal False Claims Act.
- The firm has litigated numerous individual and multi-party race discrimination cases. One of particular interest is Manning and Lewis v. Proctor & Proctor, Inc. This case was a race discrimination suit against a car dealership charging that it failed to hire into management positions the plaintiffs when it purchased an existing dealership. After a trial, the all-white jury returned a verdict of $230,000 for the two plaintiffs.