Mike Guss Obtains Summary Judgment For The City Of Flint In A Federal Civil Right Class Action Law Suit; Robert Garceau, Et. Al. -V- City Of Flint, Et. Al., United States District Court For The Eastern District Of Michigan
In late 2011, a large number of sergeants within the police force decided to retire. The former chief of police, relying upon the Personnel Rules and Regulations, decided to “provisionally” appoint 15 sergeants to temporarily fill the sergeant vacancies until a sergeants promotional exam could be created and administered. To compile a listing of the individuals who displayed the greatest potential during their tenure with the Department, the former chief enlisted the help of two captains. When the sergeants test was finally created, 65 officers sat for the written exam, but only 9 officers passed and those 9 were made permanent sergeants. Of the remaining 58 officers, 7 plaintiffs failed and 8 plaintiffs neglected to even appear and take the exam. When the City offered a second examination, 27 officers passed and 26 officers failed. Consequently, the officers with the highest test scores, regardless of their race, including 3 of the plaintiffs, were automatically promoted to “permanent” sergeants. The provisional sergeants who failed the second test or who did not score high enough were all demoted from their provisional sergeant position. Nevertheless, on December 17, 2012, 14 Caucasian officers filed a class action lawsuit against the City, the former chief, and the African American captain, alleging reverse race discrimination in the provisional promotion process. 5 Officers also alleged retaliatory suspensions after the filing of the lawsuit. After 27 depositions were taken, we filed two extensive Motions for Summary Judgment, one pertaining to plaintiffs’ reverse race discrimination claim and a second pertaining to plaintiffs’ retaliation claims. In a 46 page Opinion and Order, the US District Court granted our Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding Reverse Race Discrimination and partially granted the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding Retaliation. Only one Plaintiff’s claim of retaliation survived the City’s dispositive motions.