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Commonwealth v. Rizzo

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 30, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JOSEPH RIZZO, et al., Defendants. MICHAEL KIRBY, et al., Plaintiffs-Interveners,

MEMORANDUM OPINION

TIMOTHY R. RICE, Magistrate Judge.

The City of Philadelphia (the "City") seeks to dissolve a 1975 consent decree to remedy racial discrimination against African Americans in its Fire Department (the "Department"). Since 2011, the consent decree has been suspended by agreement, and the parties agreed the decree will permanently dissolve if the percentage of uniformed African-American firefighters does not fall below 26.73%.

I will dissolve the decree and make the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.[1]

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On or about January 31, 1974, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Club Valiants, Inc., Ronald C. Lewis, Charles G. Hendricks, Robert E. Dobson, Stephen Kerrin, and Joseph L. Sawyer (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), filed a class-action lawsuit against the City and various individuals in their official capacity, alleging the Department discriminated against African-Americans in both entry-level hiring and promotional decisions, in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000 et seq., and the Equal Protection Clause.

2. On January 7, 1975, the Court entered a consent decree, imposing obligations on the Department, including the creation of new entry and promotional exams and mandatory promotion of certain African-American firefighters.

3. The decree was modified by orders entered on October 27, 1977, July 24, 1984, March 19, 1993, August 27, 1997, and June 29, 1999.

4. The 1977 modification terminated the promotional quotas, approved exams for the positions of lieutenant and captain, and relinquished its supervision of, and jurisdiction over, the Department's promotional exams.

5. The 1984 modification imposed a two-part remedial hiring scheme on the Department. First, the Department was ordered to hire, in addition to those qualified African-American firefighter applicants who it would have otherwise hired on a rank-order basis, an additional 151 qualified African-American applicants over the next 1, 250 firefighter hires (the "quota"). Second, any position on the eligibility list left open because the original applicant was hired pursuant to the quota was to be filled by "the next highest ranking African-American applicant remaining on the list."

6. The 1993 modification applied the remedial hiring scheme to all uniformed classes.

7. The 1999 modification indefinitely extended the remedial hiring scheme.

8. On May 19, 2010, the City moved to dissolve the consent decree.

9. On or about September 21, 2011, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania withdrew all claims against the defendants and was ...


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