Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach Corporation, No. 25307.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBELL, AINSWORTH, and GODBOLD, Circuit
Citation398 F.2d 496
Docket NumberNo. 25307.
Decision Date16 July 1968
PartiesJohn Martin OATIS, David Johnson, Sr., and R. T. Young, Appellants, v. CROWN ZELLERBACH CORPORATION et al., Appellees.

398 F.2d 496 (1968)

John Martin OATIS, David Johnson, Sr., and R. T. Young, Appellants,
v.
CROWN ZELLERBACH CORPORATION et al., Appellees.

No. 25307.

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit.

July 16, 1968.


398 F.2d 497

Richard B. Sobol, New Orleans, La., Alvin J. Bronstein, Jackson, Miss., Joseph Ray Terry, Jr., New Orleans, La., George Cooper, New York City, Joan Elaine Chauvin, New Orleans, La., for appellants.

Michael J. Molony, Jr., Revius O. Ortique, Jr., C. Paul Barker, New Orleans, La., Russell Specter, David Cashdan, Frank M. Dunbaugh, Robert T. Moore, Michael R. Flicker, Washington, D. C., Robert K. McCalla, New Orleans, La., for appellees.

Before BELL, AINSWORTH, and GODBOLD, Circuit Judges.

GRIFFIN B. BELL, Circuit Judge:

This appeal presents the issue whether membership in a class action brought under § 706(e) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-5(e), is restricted to individuals who have filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The District Court answered in the affirmative. Mondy v. Crown Zellerbach Corporation, E.D.La., 1967, 271 F.Supp. 258, 264-266. Being of the view that the class was unduly restricted, we reverse.

The suit giving rise to this issue was instituted on March 1, 1967 by four Negro employees (Hill, Oatis, Johnson and Young) of Crown Zellerbach Corporation. The suit was filed against the company and the two local unions representing employees at the Bogalusa, Louisiana plant of the company. Each plaintiff sued on behalf of himself and all present and prospective Negro employees of the plant, as a class, seeking injunctive relief against unfair employment practices as defined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 2000e-2 and 3.

Prior to this action Hill filed a formal charge against the defendants with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the manner provided for under § 706(a) of the Act, 42 U.S. C.A. § 2000e-5(a). The Commission informed Hill by letter that it had been unable to obtain voluntary compliance from appellees within the 60 days required by the Act. The suit was commenced two weeks later.

Crown and the unions filed motions to dismiss. They contended that an action under Title VII of the Act, 42 U.S. C.A. § 2000e et seq., cannot be brought on behalf of a class, and that in any event plaintiffs Oatis, Johnson and Young could not join in the action as co-plaintiffs inasmuch as they had not filed a charge with the EEOC. The Attorney General, representing the EEOC, was permitted to intervene. See § 706(e) of the Act, supra.

The District Court ruled that the action could be maintained as a class action, but that the class was limited to those Negro employees who had filed charges with EEOC pursuant to § 706(a) of the Act, 271 F.Supp., supra, at pp. 264-266. Oatis, Johnson and Young had not filed such a charge and the motions to dismiss were granted as to them. It is from this dismissal that they appeal.1

Under the enforcement provisions of Title VII an aggrieved person is required to file a written charge with the EEOC. § 706(a), supra. Assuming the EEOC finds reasonable cause to believe the charge is true, informal efforts to settle with the employer or union are to be made through conference, conciliation, and persuasion.2 The filing of such a

398 F.2d 498
charge is a condition precedent to seeking judicial relief. See § 706(e).3 It is thus clear that there is great emphasis in Title VII on private settlement and the elimination of unfair practices without litigation

The plaintiffs-appellants maintain that a class action will lie if at least one aggrieved person has filed a charge with the EEOC. Defendants, on the other hand, assert that the administrative, private remedy intent and purposes of the statute will be circumvented and avoided if only one person may follow the administrative route dictate of the Act and then sue on behalf of the other employees. This, they urge, would result in the courts displacing the EEOC role in fostering the purposes of the Act. Defendants also argue that the Act provides for protection of the rights of a class in that § 707(a), 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-6, envisions a suit by the Attorney General when he finds that a pattern or practice of discrimination exists. This provision, they say, militates against the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
271 practice notes
  • Chrapliwy v. Uniroyal, Inc., Civ. No. 72 S 243.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • May 31, 1977
    ...action and, accordingly, all of the plaintiffs need not have made a timely presentation of this charge. Oatis v. Crown Fellerback Corp., 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 1968); Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 416 F.2d 711 (7th Cir. 1969). Therefore, we need not reach the question of whether such charg......
  • Lilly v. Harris-Teeter Supermarket, No. C-C-76-191
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • July 13, 1982
    ...Swasey Co., 653 F.2d 112 (4th Cir. 1981); Wheeler v. American Home Products, 563 F.2d 1233 (5th Cir. 1977); and Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach, 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 5. In reference to the claims of intervenors Reed, Mobley, Gary, McKinney, Torrence, Patterson, Jones, Johnson, Sullivan, LeGrand......
  • Penn v. Stumpf, Civ. A. No. C-69 239.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • February 3, 1970
    ...Corporation, 400 F.2d 28, 33-35 (5th Cir. 1968), reversing 261 F.Supp. 762, 763-764 (E.D.Tex.1966); Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach Corporation, 398 F.2d 496, 497 (5th Cir. 1968); Anderson v. City of Albany, 321 F.2d 649, 651-652 (5th Cir. 1963); Heilberg v. Fixa, 236 F.Supp. 405, 407 (N.D.Cal.19......
  • Crawford v. Western Elec. Co., Inc., No. 77-2565
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 8, 1980
    ...97 S.Ct. 2464, 52 L.Ed.2d 423 (1977) (nonfiling intervenor could appeal denial of class certification); Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach Corp., 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 1968) (not all members of class in action under Title VII need file EEOC charges). Other decisions do not allow this. See Hodge v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
271 cases
  • Chrapliwy v. Uniroyal, Inc., Civ. No. 72 S 243.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • May 31, 1977
    ...action and, accordingly, all of the plaintiffs need not have made a timely presentation of this charge. Oatis v. Crown Fellerback Corp., 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 1968); Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 416 F.2d 711 (7th Cir. 1969). Therefore, we need not reach the question of whether such charg......
  • Lilly v. Harris-Teeter Supermarket, No. C-C-76-191
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • July 13, 1982
    ...Swasey Co., 653 F.2d 112 (4th Cir. 1981); Wheeler v. American Home Products, 563 F.2d 1233 (5th Cir. 1977); and Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach, 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 5. In reference to the claims of intervenors Reed, Mobley, Gary, McKinney, Torrence, Patterson, Jones, Johnson, Sullivan, LeGrand......
  • Penn v. Stumpf, Civ. A. No. C-69 239.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • February 3, 1970
    ...Corporation, 400 F.2d 28, 33-35 (5th Cir. 1968), reversing 261 F.Supp. 762, 763-764 (E.D.Tex.1966); Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach Corporation, 398 F.2d 496, 497 (5th Cir. 1968); Anderson v. City of Albany, 321 F.2d 649, 651-652 (5th Cir. 1963); Heilberg v. Fixa, 236 F.Supp. 405, 407 (N.D.Cal.19......
  • Crawford v. Western Elec. Co., Inc., No. 77-2565
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 8, 1980
    ...97 S.Ct. 2464, 52 L.Ed.2d 423 (1977) (nonfiling intervenor could appeal denial of class certification); Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach Corp., 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 1968) (not all members of class in action under Title VII need file EEOC charges). Other decisions do not allow this. See Hodge v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT