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7th Circuit rules for city on discrimination claims brought by black officers, firefighters

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the City of Indianapolis in two lawsuits brought by dozens of black police officers and firefighters over the examination process used by the city for promotions.

The officers and firefighters brought back-to-back lawsuits targeting promoting decisions made in successive promotion cycles dating back to 2002, but most of the decisions involved testing protocols administered in 2007 and 2008. The second suit involves the years 2010 and 2011. The plaintiffs alleged they were passed over for promotions in favor of candidates who achieved higher composite scores. They claim that the process used to rank candidates for promotion has a disparate impact on black candidates and is intentionally discriminatory.

The examination process consisted of a written test, an oral exercise and an assessment of the candidate’s “personnel profile.” The oral exercise had three parts: an interview, oral assessment in which applicants responded to hypothetical scenarios and a written exercise requiring the applicants to draft reports and correspondence. The firefighter promotion processes also included a practical exercise.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker granted summary judgment to the city on the disparate-treatment claims in the first suit because the plaintiffs didn’t produce any evidence that using the test results to make promotions was a pretext for discrimination. Barker dismissed the second suit as barred by res judicata because the more recent promotion decisions were made from the same eligibility list generated by the testing process at issue in the first lawsuit.

“First, although the district court mistakenly assumed that allegations of intentional discrimination necessarily defeat a disparate-impact claim, here the disparate-impact claims fail in any event because they are stated as legal conclusions, without any factual content to support an inference that the City’s examination procedures caused a disparate impact on black applicants for promotion in the police or fire departments,” Judge Diana Sykes wrote in Kendale L. Adams, et al. v City of Indianapolis, 12-1874. “Second, the disparate-treatment claims lacked any evidentiary support and were properly resolved in the City’s favor on summary judgment. Finally the claims in the second lawsuit are precluded. Although the new complaint concerns a different set of promotion decisions, it attacks the same eligibility list that was at issue in the first case. The plaintiffs’ challenge to that testing process was fully and finally resolved against them in the first suit, so their second suit against the City is barred.”

 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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