775 F.2d 959 (8th Cir. 1985), 84-1640, Roby v. St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co.

Docket Nº:84-1640.
Citation:775 F.2d 959
Party Name:, 3 Fed.R.Serv.3d 269 Willie Lee ROBY, Lee Otis Gordon, and Cab Willingham, Appellants, v. ST. LOUIS SOUTHWESTERN RAILWAY CO.; United Transportation Union Local No. 462; and United Transportation Union Local No. 116, Brotherhood Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, Appellees.
Case Date:October 17, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 959

775 F.2d 959 (8th Cir. 1985)

, 3 Fed.R.Serv.3d 269

Willie Lee ROBY, Lee Otis Gordon, and Cab Willingham, Appellants,

v.

ST. LOUIS SOUTHWESTERN RAILWAY CO.; United Transportation

Union Local No. 462; and United Transportation

Union Local No. 116, Brotherhood

Locomotive Firemen and

Enginemen, Appellees.

No. 84-1640.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 17, 1985

        Submitted April 11, 1985.

        As Amended Nov. 15, 1985.

Page 960

        Eugene Hunt, Pine Bluff, Ark., for appellants.

        Spencer Robinson, Pine Bluff, Ark., for St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co.

        Thomas A. Carraway, Birmingham, Ala., for U.T.U., Local 462.

        Before ARNOLD and FAGG, Circuit Judges, and HARPER, [*] Senior District Judge.

        FAGG, Circuit Judge.

        Willie Lee Roby, Lee Otis Gordon, and Cab Willingham (Appellants) appeal from the district court's order decertifying a

Page 961

class of black employees purportedly discriminated against by the defendant St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company (Railroad) in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Secs. 2000e et seq.) and from the district court's judgment in favor of the Railroad on their individual claims of discrimination. We affirm.

        For reversal of the decertification order Appellants argue that the district court committed error by finding that they as class representatives did not meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a). As to his individual claim Roby argues that the district court committed error by not following the approach this court outlined in Craik v. Minnesota State University Board, 731 F.2d 465 (8th Cir.1984). In respect to their individual claims Gordon and Willingham contend that the district court erroneously applied the law of disparate treatment to their disparate impact claims.

        CLASS DECERTIFICATION

        The district court's decertification must be upheld unless it was an abuse of discretion. Belles v. Schweiker, 720 F.2d 509, 515 (8th Cir.1983) (standard for certification); Livesay v. Punta Gorda Isles, Inc., 550 F.2d 1106, 1110 (8th Cir.1977) (standard for decertification).

        Before trial the district court conditionally certified a class of "all black persons who have been employed by the [Railroad] in the Operating Department of the Pine Bluff, Arkansas facility since September 18, 1972, who are or have been assigned, limited, segregated, classified, restricted, denied transfers, reassignment, demoted, discharged, laid off disproportionately, or discriminated against by the [Railroad] with respect to promotions, assignments, training or otherwise deprived of employment opportunities related to said factors because of their race or color."

        The district court decertified the class after trial because it found that Appellants failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation.

        The district court specifically found that Appellants were inadequate class representatives because they had failed to join the National United Transportation Union which had the power to negotiate certain collective bargaining agreements with the Railroad that were being contested at trial. Because Appellants do not meet other requirements of Rule 23(a), however...

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