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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

September 22, 2017

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
CRST VAN EXPEDITED, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          LINDA R. READE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. INTRODUCTION ....................................... 1

         II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY ........................ 1

         III. ANALYSIS ........................................... 4

         A. Timeliness ....................................... 5

         B. Fees Requests ..................................... 8

         IV. CONCLUSION ....................................... 12

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The matter before the court is Defendant CRST Van Expedited, Inc.'s (“CRST”) “Motion for a Supplemental Fee Award” (“Motion”) (docket no. 455).

         II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The factual underpinnings of the sexual harassment and retaliation allegations underlying this litigation have been well-documented by the court and appellate courts. See, e.g., CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. E.E.O.C., ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 1642 (2016); E.E.O.C. v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 679 F.3d 657 (8th Cir. 2012). On August 1, 2013, this court entered an Order, awarding costs and attorneys' fees to CRST in the amount of $4, 694, 442.14. See August 1, 2013 Order (docket no. 400) at 40. Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) appealed this court's fee award, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded several fee issues for further proceedings. See E.E.O.C. v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 774 F.3d 1169, 1185 (8th Cir. 2014). The Eighth Circuit stated that, on remand, the court “must individually assess each of the claims for which it granted summary judgment to CRST on the merits and explain why it deem[ed] a particular claim to be frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless.” Id. The Eighth Circuit also stated that, under Eighth Circuit precedent at the time, CRST was not a prevailing party entitled to a fee award as to sixty-seven of the EEOC's claims because the court's dismissal of those claims for failure to fulfill presuit obligations was not a merits decision. Id. at 1181.

         On remand, this court directed the parties to brief the issues remanded by the Eighth Circuit. See May 19, 2015 Order (docket no. 410) at 1. In particular, this court stated that the briefs must contain “a detailed breakdown of each individual claim for which CRST requests attorneys' fees and costs” and “an analysis of how each individual claim constitutes a ‘frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless' claim.” Id. On July 31, 2015, CRST filed its brief (“CRST Remand Brief”) (docket no. 416) exhaustively detailing, over the course of approximately 170 pages, the reasons why it viewed each individual claim as frivolous, unreasonable or groundless. See generally CRST Remand Brief. On September 15, 2015, the EEOC filed its brief (“EEOC Remand Brief”) (docket no. 423), arguing that the claims were not frivolous, unreasonable or groundless for four broad reasons, and organizing the individual women under these reasons. See, e.g., EEOC Remand Brief at 36-42.

         Prior to CRST filing the CRST Remand Brief, on July 10, 2015, the EEOC filed a “Motion for Relief from Judgment Pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6)” (“Rule 60(b) Motion”) (docket no. 414). In the Rule 60(b) Motion, the EEOC argued that the court should grant it post-judgment relief as to the sixty-seven claims dismissed for failure to comply with presuit requirements, revive the claims and set the matter for trial based on the Supreme Court's decision in Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 135 S.Ct. 1645 (2015). See Rule 60(b) Motion at 2-3. In particular, the EEOC argued that Mach Mining constituted a change in the law following this court's dismissal of the sixty-seven claims for failure to fulfill presuit requirements and that other circumstances existed to justify such post-judgment relief. See generally Brief in Support of the Rule 60(b) Motion (docket no. 414-1). On December 14, 2015, the court issued an Order (docket no. 441) denying the Rule 60(b) Motion. See December 14, 2015 Order at 8. The court found that Mach Mining did not constitute a change in the law as it pertained to this case because Mach Mining forbids courts from “inquiring into the sufficiency of the conciliation process itself, ” which the court did not do in the instant action. Id. at 5. Instead, the court “found that no investigation or conciliation with respect to the [sixty-seven] individual claims occurred at all.” Id. Furthermore, the court found that Mach Mining's holding was limited to those circumstances where a district court ...


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