United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission's (“EEOC”) Agreed
Motion for Approval of Consent (Doc. 175). For the following
reasons, the Court grants the motion.
EEOC filed the instant suit on behalf of Brooke Petkas and a
class of female applicants who had applied for non-office
jobs at Mach Mining. According to the EEOC, Mach Mining
“has never hired a single female for a mining-related
position, ” and “did not even have a women's
bathroom on its mining premises.” (Doc. 32, p. 1-2).
The complaint alleges that Mach Mining's Johnston City,
Illinois, facility engaged in a pattern or practice of
unlawful employment practices since at least January 1, 2006,
in violation of Title VII, by engaging in sex discrimination.
procedural history of the lead case (EEOC v. Mach Mining,
LLC, 11-cv-00879-JPG-RJD) is extensive and has been laid
out in previous orders. As such, it will not be repeated here
other than to note that the lead case was consolidate with
the recently filed matter of EEOC v. Foresight Energy
Services, et al., 16-cv-01306-JPG-RJD in order to
facilitate a resolution of all related issues between the
an extensive negotiation process, the parties came to the
agreement currently under consideration. On December 5, 2016,
the EEOC filed its motion for approval of the consent decree
and the Court held a hearing on January 17, 2017. As directed
at the hearing, the EEOC filed clarification with regard to
the cy pres funds on January 23, 2017. (Doc. 180.)
of a consent decree is committed to the discretion of the
district court. Madison Cnty. Jail Inmates v.
Thompson, 773 F.2d 834, 845 (7th Cir. 1985). In
reviewing a consent decree, the district court pays deference
to the expertise of the agency and the policy encouraging
settlement. United States v. George A. Whiting Paper
Co., 644 F.3d 368, 372 (7th Cir. 2011).
such, a presumption in favor of approving the consent decree
arises. Donovan v. Robbins, 752 F.2d 1170, 1177 (7th
Cir. 1985). Accordingly, this Court “must approve a
consent decree if it is reasonable, consistent with [the
agency's] goals, and substantively and procedurally
fair.” George A. Whiting Paper Co., 644 F.3d
consent decree is procedurally fair if the negotiations in
reaching it were open and at arms-length. In re Tutu
Water Wells CERCLA Litig., 326 F.3d 201, 207 (3d Cir.
2003); see also United States v. Cannons Eng'g
Corp., 899 F.2d 79, 86 (1st Cir. 1990) (a court
determines procedural fairness by examining “the
candor, openness, and bargaining balance.”) Here, all
parties are represented by experienced counsel, and there is
nothing suggesting this consent decree was reached through
anything but a procedurally fair negotiation process. As
such, the Court finds that the instant consent decree was the
result of a procedurally fair process.
Substantive Fairness A consent decree is substantively fair
if it involves “corrective justice and accountability:
a party should bear the cost of the harm for which it is
legally responsible.” Cannons, 899 F.2d at 87.
Procedural fairness is relevant to the inquiry because
“[t]o the extent that the process was fair and full of
adversarial vigor, the results come before the court with a
much greater assurance of substantive fairness.”
Id. at 87, n.4.
Court finds the instant consent decree substantively fair
because it obtains a significant civil penalty for the
alleged noncompliance and requires the defendants to comply
with EEOC regulations and an injunctive protocol on future