The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal by CRST Van Expedited Inc., a unit of truckload and logistics firm CRST International Inc., of a federal appeals court ruling overturning a federal district court's decision awarding the unit $4.7 million in fees and costs due to actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a sexual harassment dispute.
In 2007, District Court Judge Linda R. Reade threw out more than half of the sexual harassment claims in a suit brought by the EEOC on behalf of dozens of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based unit's female drivers. Judge Reade also hit the agency with a $4.7 million sanction. She ruled the EEOC violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act by failing to investigate the individual claims before filing suit, and for not establishing a "pattern and practice" of wrongful behavior by the company, as required by law.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's ruling and upheld the dismissal of the claims. However, the 8th Circuit ruled that fees were precluded because the unit did not sufficiently prevail on the merits of the case.
CRST had asked the court to accept the case on grounds that the 8th Circuit's ruling conflicts with rulings applied in three other circuits.
The high court's ruling to accept the case was issued Dec. 4.