Morelock v. NCR Corp., Nos. 75-2220

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WEICK and ENGEL; LAMBROS
Citation546 F.2d 682
Docket Number75-2282,Nos. 75-2220
Decision Date20 December 1976
Parties14 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 65, 13 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 11,286 Hubert MORELOCK et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. The NCR CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.

Page 682

546 F.2d 682
14 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 65, 13 Empl. Prac.
Dec. P 11,286
Hubert MORELOCK et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
The NCR CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.
Nos. 75-2220, 75-2282.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued June 16, 1976.
Decided Dec. 20, 1976.

Page 684

John B. Huber, Dayton, Ohio, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Thomas J. Harrington, Pickrel, Schaefer & Ebeling, Gordon H. Savage, Dayton, Ohio, Robert E. Signom, II, Legal Dept., NCR Corp., Dayton, Ohio, for defendant-appellee.

Before WEICK and ENGEL, Circuit Judges, and LAMBROS, * District Judge.

Page 685

LAMBROS, District Judge.

This is an appeal from an action instituted pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (1970). Essentially, the complaint charged that the NCR Corporation (NCR) did not maintain a bona fide seniority system 1 at its Dayton, Ohio facilities.

On the ground that this was an equitable action, NCR moved to strike the Appellants' jury demand. The District Court overruled this motion and the case was tried to a jury, with a verdict being returned in favor of the Appellants on April 1, 1975. Upon motion by NCR the District Court granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a conditional new trial in favor of NCR.

Appellants appeal from the order of the District Court granting judgment notwithstanding the verdict. NCR cross-appeals as to the propriety of a jury trial in actions brought under the ADEA. For the reasons stated below we find that the District Court erred in overruling NCR's motion to strike the Appellant's jury demand. As this case was properly triable in its entirety in the District Court without a jury, we remand this case for findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Rule 52(a), Fed.R.Civ.P.

In 1938 actions at law and suits in equity were merged into a single "civil action". 2 While this merger abolished the procedural distinction between these actions, the substantive distinctions have been retained for purposes of determining issues triable by jury. Kennedy v. Lakso,414 F.2d 1249, 1251 (3rd Cir. 1969). The basic principle remains that a civil action in the nature of an action at law is triable to a jury, while one in the nature of a suit in equity is properly tried to the court. See Kennedy v. Lakso, supra, at 1251.

As a result of the 1938 merger, the federal courts must often determine the right to a jury trial in actions which present mixed questions of law and equity within the context of a single case. This right, guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment "(i)n suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars," has been preserved 3 and extended to apply to actions enforcing contemporary statutory rights, so long as the statute creates legal rights and remedies enforceable in an action for damages in the ordinary courts of law. See e.g. Curtis v. Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 194, 94 S.Ct. 1005, 39 L.Ed.2d 260 (1974). However, the mere fact that a monetary award is an incident of the relief requested does not mandate that an action be characterized as legal rather than equitable. See e.g., Curtis v. Loether, supra at 196, 94 S.Ct. 1005; Slack v. Havens, 522 F.2d 1091, 1094 (9th Cir. 1975). In certain actions monetary relief is an integral part of an equitable action to which the Seventh Amendment is inapplicable. See e.g. Slack v. Havens, supra at 1094; Wirtz v. Jones, 340 F.2d 901, 904 (5th Cir. 1965). The propriety of jury trials in cases presenting such mixed questions of law and equity is determined by the nature of the issue to be tried. Ross v. Bernhard, 396 U.S. 531, 538, 90 S.Ct. 733, 24 L.Ed.2d 729 (1970).

Appellants allege violations of § 623 of the ADEA. This section provides in pertinent part:

§ 623. (a) It shall be unlawful for an employer

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's age;

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive

Page 686

or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's age; or

(3) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this chapter.

The applicable enforcement provisions of the ADEA invoked by the Appellants are set forth in § 626:

§ 626. (b) The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced in accordance with the powers, remedies, and procedures provided in sections 211(b), 216 (except for subsection (a) thereof), and 217 of this title, and subsection (c) of this section. Any act prohibited under section 623 of this title shall be deemed to be a prohibited act under section 215 of this title. Amounts owing to a person as a result of a violation of this chapter shall be deemed to be unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation for purposes of sections 216 and 217 of this title: Provided, That liquidated damages shall be payable only in cases of willful violations of this chapter. In any action brought to enforce this chapter the court shall have jurisdiction to grant such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this chapter, including without limitation, judgments compelling employment, reinstatement or promotion, or enforcing the liability for amounts deemed to be unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation under this section. Before instituting any action under this section, the Secretary shall attempt to eliminate the discriminatory practice or practices alleged, and to effect voluntary compliance with the requirements of this chapter through informal methods of conciliation, conference, and persuasion.

(c) Any person aggrieved may bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction for such legal or equitable relief as will effectuate the purposes of this chapter: Provided, That the right of any person to bring such action shall terminate upon the commencement of an action by the Secretary to enforce the right of such employee under this chapter.

Pursuant to these provisions Appellants sought relief from the trial court in the form of reinstatement with back pay and benefits, a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining NCR from discriminating against any and all of the Appellants because of their age, and compensatory, punitive and liquidated damages. 4 In order to determine the nature of the issue to be tried in this case, and therefore the propriety of a jury trial, it is necessary to evaluate the ADEA, and particularly § 626, in view of the relief requested by the Appellants.

The ADEA is an offspring of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 5 Enacted in 1967, the express purpose of the Act is to promote the "employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age" and to prohibit " arbitrary age discrimination". 6 The prohibitions of the ADEA are in terms virtually identical to those of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 7 except that "age" has been substituted for "race, color, religion, sex or national origin." Hodgson v. First Federal Sav. & L. Ass'n of Broward Co., Fla., 455 F.2d 818, 820 (5th Cir. 1972). The similarities between Title VII and the ADEA are "hardly accidental", and although it may be inappropriate to simply borrow and apply the standards of Title VII to the ADEA automatically, an analogous application of such standards should not be disregarded. See Laugesen v. Anaconda Co., 510 F.2d 307, 311 (6th Cir. 1975). An

Page 687

analysis of the ADEA, therefore, necessarily requires some discussion of Title VII.

The enforcement provisions of Title VII are set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5. This section provides inter alia for a two-tier system of enforcement by which aggrieved individuals initially seek redress through the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, with the right reserved to proceed in private civil litigation should such individual be dissatisfied with the Commission's efforts. These enforcement provisions are modeled after those of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. § 160(c) (1970), which has as its objective the vindication of the public interest by making employees whole for losses suffered through unfair labor practices. See Mims v. Wilson,514 F.2d 106, 110 (5th Cir. 1975). The provisions of § 2000e-5 have been modified from those of the NLRA in order to permit private civil actions to redress violations of Title VII. However, the basic...

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49 practice notes
  • Troy v. City of Hampton, Nos. 82-1862
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 5, 1985
    ...to a jury trial), aff'd, 434 U.S. 575, 98 S.Ct. 866, 55 L.Ed.2d 40 (1978) (on statutory grounds only), with Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682 (6th Cir.1976), vacated, 435 U.S. 911, 98 S.Ct. 1463, 55 L.Ed.2d 503 (1978) (no right to jury in ADEA cases), or 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981; compare Moore......
  • Lehman v. Nakshian, No. 81-242
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1981
    ...Pons v. Lorillard, 549 F.2d 950 (CA4 1977) (same), aff'd, 434 U.S. 575, 98 S.Ct. 866, 55 L.Ed.2d 40 (1978), with Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682 (CA6 1976) (no right to jury trial), vacated and remanded, 435 U.S. 911, 98 S.Ct. 1463, 55 L.Ed.2d 503 (1978). 14. Senator Kennedy further exp......
  • U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Balt. Cnty., Civil Action No. RDB-07-2500
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • August 24, 2016
    ...Fabrics, 441 F.Supp. 1318, 1322, n. 4 (N.D.Cal.1977). The case cited by the Altman court for that proposition, Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682, 689 (6th Cir.1976), was subsequently vacated by the United States Supreme Court in light of Lorrilard because it had held that no right to a ju......
  • Luder v. Endicott, No. 99-C-694-C.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Western District of Wisconsin
    • February 14, 2000
    ...Freight Sys., Inc., 750 F.2d 47, 51 (8th Cir.1984); EEOC v. Gilbarco, Inc., 615 F.2d 985, 995 (4th Cir.1980); Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682, 688 (6th Cir.1976), rev'd on other grounds, 435 U.S. 911, 98 S.Ct. 1463, 55 L.Ed.2d 503 (1978); Powell v. Washington Post Co., 267 F.2d 651, 652......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
49 cases
  • Troy v. City of Hampton, Nos. 82-1862
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 5, 1985
    ...to a jury trial), aff'd, 434 U.S. 575, 98 S.Ct. 866, 55 L.Ed.2d 40 (1978) (on statutory grounds only), with Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682 (6th Cir.1976), vacated, 435 U.S. 911, 98 S.Ct. 1463, 55 L.Ed.2d 503 (1978) (no right to jury in ADEA cases), or 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981; compare Moore......
  • Lehman v. Nakshian, No. 81-242
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1981
    ...Pons v. Lorillard, 549 F.2d 950 (CA4 1977) (same), aff'd, 434 U.S. 575, 98 S.Ct. 866, 55 L.Ed.2d 40 (1978), with Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682 (CA6 1976) (no right to jury trial), vacated and remanded, 435 U.S. 911, 98 S.Ct. 1463, 55 L.Ed.2d 503 (1978). 14. Senator Kennedy further exp......
  • U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Balt. Cnty., Civil Action No. RDB-07-2500
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • August 24, 2016
    ...Fabrics, 441 F.Supp. 1318, 1322, n. 4 (N.D.Cal.1977). The case cited by the Altman court for that proposition, Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682, 689 (6th Cir.1976), was subsequently vacated by the United States Supreme Court in light of Lorrilard because it had held that no right to a ju......
  • Luder v. Endicott, No. 99-C-694-C.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Western District of Wisconsin
    • February 14, 2000
    ...Freight Sys., Inc., 750 F.2d 47, 51 (8th Cir.1984); EEOC v. Gilbarco, Inc., 615 F.2d 985, 995 (4th Cir.1980); Morelock v. NCR Corp., 546 F.2d 682, 688 (6th Cir.1976), rev'd on other grounds, 435 U.S. 911, 98 S.Ct. 1463, 55 L.Ed.2d 503 (1978); Powell v. Washington Post Co., 267 F.2d 651, 652......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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