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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Baltimore County

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

September 19, 2018

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Defendant-Appellee, and BALTIMORE COUNTY FEDERATION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, FMT, AFT, AFL-CIO; BALTIMORE COUNTY FEDERATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH NURSES; BALTIMORE COUNTY PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FIRE FIGHTERS LOCAL 1311-AFL-CIO; BALTIMORE COUNTY LODGE NO. 4 FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE INCORPORATED; BALTIMORE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE/LODGE NUMBER 25; AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, Local #921, Defendants.

          Argued: October 26, 2017

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Richard D. Bennett, District Judge. (1:07-cv-02500-RDB)

         ARGUED:

          Paul D. Ramshaw, Office of General Counsel, U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          James Joseph Nolan, Jr., BALTIMORE COUNTY OFFICE OF LAW, Towson, Maryland, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          James L. Lee, Deputy General Counsel, Jennifer S. Goldstein, Associate General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Michael E. Field, County Attorney, Paul M. Mayhew, Assistant County Attorney, BALTIMORE COUNTY OFFICE OF LAW, Towson, Maryland, for Appellee.

          Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, KEENAN, Circuit Judge, and SHEDD, Senior Circuit Judge.

          PER CURIAM.

         The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) appeals the order of the district court denying its request under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., for retroactive monetary relief from Baltimore County, Maryland (the County). For the following reasons, we vacate and remand.

         I.

         This case is now before us for a third time.[1] In the first appeal, we reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the County and remanded the case for the district court to determine whether the contribution rates of the County's age-based employee retirement benefit plan (the plan) were permissible based on financial considerations or whether they violated the ADEA. See E.E.O.C. v. Balt. Cty., 385 Fed.Appx. 322 (4th Cir. 2010). On remand, the district court concluded that the County violated the ADEA by imposing disparate plan contribution rates based on age. See E.E.O.C. v. Balt. Cty., 747 F.3d 267 (4th Cir. 2014). The district court awarded partial summary judgment in favor of the EEOC on the issue of liability. Id. In the second appeal, we affirmed the award of summary judgment to the EEOC and remanded for consideration of damages. See id.

         The parties later approved a strategy for the gradual equalization of contribution rates under the plan and entered into a Joint Consent Order Regarding Injunctive Relief, which the district court approved. The order did not resolve claims for monetary relief and expressly indicated that ...


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