June 24, 2014
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has ordered the EEOC to pay over $60,000 in attorneys’ fees to Blackstone Consulting Inc. for pursuing discrimination claims that had “no chance of success” at trial and that should have been voluntarily dismissed before summary judgment. The ruling was made in EEOC v. RJB Properties Inc. et al., Case No. 10-2001 (N.D. Ill. June 18, 2014) and related to the EEOC’s failure-to-promote and overtime claims.
The case arises out of the EEOC’s allegations that Blackstone discriminated against a class of Hispanic and African-American employees despite the fact that Blackstone was not even the employer of these employees and is itself a minority owned and operated business. The District Court awarded Blackstone summary judgment in April 2012 on the grounds that it was not, as the EEOC had alleged, a joint employer of the class members on whose behalf the EEOC had alleged discrimination. (EEOC v. RJB, 857 F.Supp.2d 727 (N.D. Ill. 2012)). The Court later granted Blackstone’s motion for attorneys’ fees on February 7, 2014, finding that, by “the time all the evidence was in, it should have been clear to the EEOC that it had no chance of success” on certain of its claims.
Accordingly, the court concluded Blackstone was entitled to its attorneys’ fees incurred in defense of the claims after the close of discovery and directed Blackstone to file a petition for fees. Blackstone’s fee petition was granted in the amount of $60,775.
Blackstone Consulting is a premier service provider that specializes in government and private sector food services, janitorial services, and facility management support services. The company began in 1991 and is headquartered in Los Angeles.