December 10, 2019

On December 10, 2019, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a federal district court’s order requiring the US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to pay $3,317,289.17 in lawyers’ fees to firm client CRST Van Expedited for making and pursuing unreasonable claims under Title VII.  The holding is believed to be the largest fee award upheld against the EEOC. 

The decision marks the end of 12 years of successful litigation defense the firm provided to CRST against charges of sexual harassment originally brought in 2008 by the EEOC, ostensibly on behalf of 270 drivers.   By the time the case ended at the district court level, only one such claim had survived summary judgment and was ultimately settled for substantially less than the cost of defense.   Thereafter, the case found its way to the Eighth Circuit three times and to the US Supreme Court once, where an 8-0 win restored the lion’s share of an original fee award from the district court.

Partner John H. Mathias, Jr. led several teams over the lifetime of EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., including delivering oral arguments in all three Eighth Circuit appearances.   Partner James T. Malysiak also led the team over this same 12-year period, with brief writing and litigation support, along with help from Of Counsel Richard P. Campbell and Paralegal Cheryl Kras.   Former partner Paul Smith successfully argued the appeal at the US Supreme Court, where he was assisted by Partner Jessica Ring Amunson and former associate Benjamin M. Eidelson.   Ms. Amunson, Mr. Malysiak and Associate Jonathan A. Langlinais were instrumental in the most recent victory.

The Eighth Circuit decision was reported in outlets including Law360, and Law360 named the team a “Legal Lion” for the win.