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01/15/88 Keith B. Grimes, v. District of Columbia

January 15, 1988

KEITH B. GRIMES, APPELLANT

v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL. 1988.CDC.11 DATE DECIDED: JANUARY 15, 1988



Before discussing the issue of constructive knowledge that is central to this appeal, we must consider an alternative basis urged by the Blakemores for upholding the judgment of the district court. Specifically, the Blakemores argue that the trial judge should have found the defendants subject to innkeeper's liability, making them responsible for the contents of luggage belonging to their guests regardless of their knowledge about those contents. *fn1

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 84-03747.

APPELLATE PANEL:

Wald, Chief Judge, Mikva, Circuit Judge, and Friedman,* Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge Friedman.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE FRIEDMAN

This appeal by the successful plaintiff in a suit charging violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (1982), challenges as inadequate to remedy the violation found, the damages the United States District Court for the District of Columbia awarded, 630 F. Supp. 1065. The appellant also challenges the district court's rejection of his claim that the appellees' action on which he based his Equal Pay Act claim also violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (1982). We hold that, based on the Equal Pay Act violation found, the appellant is entitled to the additional damages he seeks. Since those additional damages would give the appellant the same amount he could have received under his Title VII claim, we find it unnecessary to consider the latter claim. We therefore vacate the judgment of the district court and remand the case for that court to increase the damages. I

A. The appellant Grimes' complaint alleged that the District of Columbia (District) and the appellee Shelton, Director of the agency where the appellant had worked, the District's Office of Human Rights (Office), had violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The charge was that they had discriminated against him on the basis of sex and national origin (West Indian) by paying women and non-West Indian males more for performing essentially the same work that Grimes did. He also alleged that the Office's failure to appoint him to another job was unlawful retaliation for his having filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a charge of discrimination by his agency.

After trial, the district court upheld the Equal Pay Act claim and awarded damages. The court rejected on the merits the claims of violation of Title VII and retaliatory failure to appoint. In this appeal, Grimes does not challenge the dismissal of the latter claim.

B. The background facts, as found by the district court, are largely undisputed (except as noted).

In April 1981, the Office hired Grimes as a temporary full-time paralegal at grade DS-7. Grimes was a recent law school graduate who had not been admitted to the bar. Grimes received a series of short-term appointments, typically three months, the last of which expired on April 30, 1983. He was separated on that date.

At the end of the 1981 fiscal year, Grimes' supervisor, Ms. Ridgley, recommended that he be promoted to DS-9 "as he was performing duties beyond his DS-7 grade." The director of the Office (appellee Shelton) informed Ms. Ridgley, however, that "there were no funds available to promote anyone." When Grimes' appointment ended on April 30, 1983, he still was a grade DS-7.

According to Grimes, when he was hired four American males who performed duties similar to his were grade DS-11. Grimes admitted, however, that all four presented cases to the Office's Human Rights Commission, which the appellant did not do, and that three of the four were permanent rather than temporary employees.

In the fall of 1982, the Office hired three paralegals. Two of them were hired at grade DS-11, and the third was hired as an intern at grade DS-7. One of the two hired at DS-11 was a member of the bar and presented cases to the Human Rights Commission. Although the district court found that the other grade DS-11 paralegal, Sylvia Lang (whom the court referred to as "Long"), was hired " in the fall of 1982," Grimes testified that she "was hired approximately in June or July of 1983."

In April 1984, a year after Grimes' appointment had ended, the Office made a classification review, which "concluded that [Grimes'] duties while a paralegal ...


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