Thursday, 18 August 2011

City to Pay Out $45 Million, Hire 111 African American Firefighters

New Haven, CT - In a 26 page decision, a U.S. appeals court resurrected new life into a lawsuit many thought was dead.

The court ruled that Fire Fighter Michael Briscoe, an African American, can sue the city of New Haven, Connecticut…after claiming its promotions test for firefighters is biased.

The ruling complicates an issue many legal expert considered resolved by the United States Supreme court.

The lawsuit stems from a 1995 firefighter's entrance exam in which almost 6,000 black applicants lost out on the chance to become firemen because the exam and its qualifying cut-off score favored white applicants. The City claimed the black applicants waited too long to file their lawsuit and appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court, who found the City's case lacking.
The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May the City must hire 111 black firefighters and pay damages. Those damages could be at lease $45 million and, since it will cost the city a $500,000 for every month the city doesn't settle the case, it's in their best interests to put it behind them quickly.
Attorney Matt Piers, who was the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said signs from the Emanuel Administration pointed toward settling the damages, which could earn every individual plaintiff $5,000, as soon as possible. Those who still wish to become firefighters can do so, provided they pass a pre-employment screening, physical tests, drug screens and medical examinations to be placed on a special eligibility list for the 111 jobs.

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