Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., No. GC 76-77-S.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtORMA R. SMITH
Citation469 F. Supp. 37
Docket NumberNo. GC 76-77-S.
Decision Date22 November 1978
PartiesLeon WILLIAMS, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. The YAZOO VALLEY-MINTER CITY OIL MILL, INC., also known as the Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., Defendant.

469 F. Supp. 37

Leon WILLIAMS, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
The YAZOO VALLEY-MINTER CITY OIL MILL, INC., also known as the Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., Defendant.

No. GC 76-77-S.

United States District Court, N. D. Mississippi, Greenville Division.

November 22, 1978.


469 F. Supp. 38
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
469 F. Supp. 39
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
469 F. Supp. 40
Charles Victor McTeer, Greenville, Miss., for plaintiffs

H. D. Brock, Whittington, Brock & Swayze, Greenwood, Miss., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

ORMA R. SMITH, District Judge.

The action sub judice having been submitted to the court, sitting without a jury, and the court now having considered the evidence introduced and the entire proceedings in this action, does hereby adopt findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Rule 52(a), Fed.R.Civ.P.

469 F. Supp. 41

FINDINGS OF FACT

A. Leon Williams' Individual Discharge.

1. Leon Williams is a member of the black race.

2. Leon Williams became a solvent plant operator at the Minter City Oil Mill in 1973 and worked in that position until his discharge on December 20, 1974.

3. The solvent plant is the most important stage of the production process at the Minter City Oil Mill. In the solvent plant, hexane gas is used to extract oil from cotton seed. When the solvent plant is shut down, the Minter City Oil Mill is not producing its primary end products, cotton seed oil and cotton seed meal. The net loss to the mill when the solvent plant is not in operation during the mill season is approximately $1,500 per hour. The solvent plant requires the constant, undivided attention of the solvent plant operator.

4. The immediate incident which brought about the discharge of Leon Williams was Williams' actions in shutting down the solvent plant at approximately 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, December 14, 1974, and his conduct during a conference with the mill management concerning this shutdown on the following day, Sunday, December 15, 1974.

5. There are a number of reasons why the solvent plant might necessarily have to be shut down during mill operation, such as a lack of raw materials coming into the solvent plant or a breakdown of machinery. Such reasons require the automatic shutdown of the mill without a judgment decision having to be made by the solvent plant operator and shift foreman.

6. The reason stated by Leon Williams as to why he shut the solvent plant down on December 14, was that he felt the meal was too "wet", causing a drag on the machinery. Williams' decision to shut down the solvent plant was based on his own decision and was not the type of condition, such as the lack of raw materials or a breakdown of equipment, which cause automatic shut down of the solvent plant.

7. Written duties for solvent plant operators have been posted in the solvent plant office, called the "flash room", since first placed there by W. P. Hayne, plant manager, in 1973. These written rules for solvent plant operators are plainly visible and have been seen and observed by solvent plant operators.

8. The written duties for solvent plant operators include the following:

8. Report any problem or trouble to foreman immediately.
. . . . .
13. Operator should not leave solvent plant except to run tests, to check with prep room, or emergency or necessity.

9. Leon Williams came on duty at 3:00 P.M. on Saturday, December 14.

10. Williams did not shut down the solvent plant until approximately 7:30 to 8:00 P.M.

11. During the interval of time from his coming on duty on December 14, until he shut down the solvent plant, Leon Williams did not contact his shift foreman concerning the condition of the meal in the solvent plant.

12. The failure to contact his shift foreman concerning the condition which he claims to have observed in the solvent plant as early as 3:00 P.M. was a violation of the Work Rules for solvent plant operators.

13. Leon Williams had been warned on at least one previous occasion not to shut down the solvent plant on the basis of his own judgment without first contacting the shift foreman.

14. The action of Leon Williams in shutting down the solvent plant on the basis of his opinion regarding the condition of the meal was in violation of instructions which he had received from the mill management.

15. A conference was held on Sunday, December 15, concerning Williams' shutting down the solvent plant on the previous day. Attending this conference were W. P. Hayne, plant manager; Walter McLaughlin, assistant superintendent; Donald Kersh, shift foreman; and Leon Williams.

469 F. Supp. 42
During this conference, according to the testimony of McLaughlin and Hayne, Leon Williams stated that he was going to operate the solvent plant as he saw fit and he was not going to follow the directions of the shift foreman

16. Hayne did not terminate Williams at the time of the conference but took the decision on his discharge under advisement until the end of the current pay week.

17. Hayne decided to terminate Williams on Friday, December 20. Williams was discharged when he picked up his weekly paycheck.

18. Hayne's decision to terminate Williams took into account a number of factors including:

(a) Williams' job performance on Saturday, December 14, when he failed to notify his shift foreman of problems with the meal and failed to notify his shift foreman before he closed down the solvent plant on the basis of his own judgment decision;
(b) Williams' insubordinate attitude at the conference on December 15, 1974;
(c) the background of Williams' employment history including his refusal to remain on his job and in his work area during working hours (which was a violation of Work Rules), and his interference with the activities of other employees during working hours.

19. Williams' insubordinate actions and statements came at a time when W. P. Hayne was trying to establish an orderly chain of authority at the Minter City Oil Mill so that total responsibility for the plant operation could be placed on a designated supervisor. This reorganization was in contrast to previously disorganized management practices and was necessary for the Mill's continued operation.

20. The decision to discharge Leon Williams was for good cause.

21. The decision to discharge Leon Williams was in no way based on his race.

22. There is no evidence that any solvent plant operator who is white has conducted his job in the same manner and with the same attitude toward supervisors as Leon Williams and has been retained in the company's employment.

23. Leon Williams was replaced as solvent plant operator by Bennie Ratliff, a black male, who had previously been a solvent plant operator and was at the time of Williams' discharge working in the maintenance department.

B. Williams' Claim of Failure to Promote.

24. The plaintiff, Williams, was promoted to solvent plant operator at his request. On one occasion he mentioned the shift foreman position to a supervisor but was not given the position.

25. Williams admits that he is not qualified to hold the position of plant superintendent.

26. From 1971 through 1973, there was no vacancy in the position of shift foreman. In 1974, there was only one occasion on which a vacancy in the position for shift foreman was filled. After the retirement of A. D. McGee, a black shift foreman, on March 30, 1975, three black employees, Bennie Ratliff, Charlie Phillips and Wilbert Hughes, were asked to accept the position of shift foreman. All three, Ratliff, Phillips, and Hughes, subsequently became shift foremen.

27. There was no racial discrimination involved in not promoting Leon Williams to a position higher than solvent plant operator.

C. Hiring and Job Assignments.

I. Hiring Practices Generally.

28. Historically, the Minter City Oil Mill has hired and employed many more blacks than whites.

29. Because of the location of the Mill in a predominantly rural area, the labor force available for employment consists mostly of agricultural workers, predominantly black, who come to the plant seeking work.

30. The Mill has also sought referrals from the Mississippi State Employment

469 F. Supp. 43
Service and word of mouth referrals from current employees. Due to the predominantly black composition of the existing work force, word of mouth referrals tend to favor black persons

31. Written job applications are taken from applicants applying at the front offices of the Mill; however, most new employees go directly to the superintendent's office in the plant where written applications and/or employment data are taken from the applying parties. The Mill does not use written tests or other screening methods which might tend to exclude poorly educated blacks (or whites) from initial employment.

32. Defendant's hiring procedures do not discriminate against blacks on account of their race, and in effect have favored the employment of large numbers of black persons from the local Minter City area.

II. Initial Job Assignments.

33. Most new employees, black or white, who have no relevant previous experience, have been hired at or only slightly more than the minimum wage. The relatively small number of such whites who applied and were hired as general hourly employees, have had the same or comparable starting job assignments and wages as their black counterparts. (See generally Plaintiff's Exhibits 1 and 2.)

34. For illustration, the list of all new white hourly general employees initially hired on or after January 1, 1973, derived from Plaintiff's own Exhibits P-2c through P-2h, shows that there have been 13 such employees as follows:

 1973 Crick, W. M. Seed weigher $1.85
                 Christian, James Seed sampler 1.85
                 Goss, Roger Sampler/tow motor 1.85
                 McLaughlin, David Solvent plant 2.00
                 1974 Rayburn, Earl Yard worker $2.00
                 Evans, James Yard worker 2.00
                 Gregg, Luther Ray Helper 2.00
                 Bradshaw, Grady Sampler/tow motor 2.10
                 Methvin, Reginald, Jr.
...

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9 practice notes
  • Richardson v. Tricom Pictures & Productions, Inc., No. 02-60117-CV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • August 24, 2004
    ...intention to comply with all relevant Civil Rights Act requirements in the future." Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 37, 52 (N.D.Miss.1978) (citations Admittedly, the facts of Cox v. Phelps, 43 F.3d 1345 (10th Cir.1994), the case cited by Tricom, are differen......
  • Ohio Univ. V. Ohio Civ. Rights Comm., No. 07CA7.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • March 5, 2008
    ...Plumbers, 66 Ohio St.2d at 199, 20 O.O.3d 200, 421 N.E.2d 128, quoting Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill (D.C.N.D.Miss.1978), 469 F.Supp. 37, {¶ 66} As the court explained in Ohio Civ. Rights Comm. v. Kent State Univ. (1998), 129 Ohio App.3d 231, 244, 717 N.E.2d 745, fn. 8: "Eve......
  • Lee v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., Civ. A. No. 80-1075-CV-W-2.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • March 18, 1981
    ...483 F.Supp. 594 (E.D.Pa.1980); Wilson v. Califano, 473 F.Supp. 1350 (D.Colo. 1979); Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 37 (N.D.Miss. 1978); White v. North Louisiana Legal Assistance Corp., 468 F.Supp. 1347 (W.D.La. 1979); Winfrey v. Metropolitan Utilities Distr......
  • Domingo v. New England Fish Co., Nos. 81-3702
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 13, 1984
    ...between rent paid and the fair market rental value of the housing they received. Cf. Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 37, 54 (N.D.Miss.1978). However, since Nefco did not charge any rent to its employees, the company argues that any damage they suffered is no......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Richardson v. Tricom Pictures & Productions, Inc., No. 02-60117-CV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • August 24, 2004
    ...intention to comply with all relevant Civil Rights Act requirements in the future." Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 37, 52 (N.D.Miss.1978) (citations Admittedly, the facts of Cox v. Phelps, 43 F.3d 1345 (10th Cir.1994), the case cited by Tricom, are differen......
  • Ohio Univ. V. Ohio Civ. Rights Comm., No. 07CA7.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • March 5, 2008
    ...Plumbers, 66 Ohio St.2d at 199, 20 O.O.3d 200, 421 N.E.2d 128, quoting Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill (D.C.N.D.Miss.1978), 469 F.Supp. 37, {¶ 66} As the court explained in Ohio Civ. Rights Comm. v. Kent State Univ. (1998), 129 Ohio App.3d 231, 244, 717 N.E.2d 745, fn. 8: "Eve......
  • Lee v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., Civ. A. No. 80-1075-CV-W-2.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • March 18, 1981
    ...483 F.Supp. 594 (E.D.Pa.1980); Wilson v. Califano, 473 F.Supp. 1350 (D.Colo. 1979); Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 37 (N.D.Miss. 1978); White v. North Louisiana Legal Assistance Corp., 468 F.Supp. 1347 (W.D.La. 1979); Winfrey v. Metropolitan Utilities Distr......
  • Domingo v. New England Fish Co., Nos. 81-3702
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 13, 1984
    ...between rent paid and the fair market rental value of the housing they received. Cf. Williams v. Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 37, 54 (N.D.Miss.1978). However, since Nefco did not charge any rent to its employees, the company argues that any damage they suffered is no......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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