Nucor Wins in Eighth Circuit Fight Over Attempted Class Action

Appeals court refuses to revive plaintiffs' class action claims in race discrimination case

Sep 23, 2011, 10:52 ET from Nucor-Yamato

JONESBORO, Ark., Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- After eight years of a Plaintiffs' law firm unsuccessfully attempting to certify a national class action against Nucor based on unfounded allegations, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed yesterday that not only was a national class action inappropriate, but there was no evidence of plant-wide discrimination at Nucor-Yamato Steel, in Blytheville, Arkansas.  The Eighth Circuit ruled in Nucor-Yamato's favor and found that a trial court properly denied class action claims brought by six current and former employees of the Blytheville, Arkansas plant.  United States District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright of the Eastern District of Arkansas had previously ruled that there was no evidence of common, plant-wide discrimination, and the appellate court agreed.

The District Judge dismissed most of the remaining individual claims of discrimination prior to trial and another was found to have no merit by the jury.  At trial, the Plaintiffs' law firm sought $23 million for the handful of remaining claims, but the jury denied that outrageous demand and instead awarded the six individual plaintiffs $200,000.  Nucor appealed the jury's findings on these few, isolated individual claims of discrimination at the trial, but the Eighth Circuit left intact the jury's verdict on these few claims due to the heightened standard of review for overturning any jury verdict.  

Nucor-Yamato has over 800 team members who were not a part of this lawsuit.  Many of these team members testified at trial to the extraordinary financial, educational, and professional opportunities as well as the friendly, cooperative and respectful workplace environment Nucor-Yamato has afforded them. Even one of the plaintiffs – in between his allegations of discrimination – admitted to the jury that working for Nucor-Yamato was "like winning the lottery."  A second plaintiff, while waiting for the case to come to trial requested that his son be hired by Nucor-Yamato.  

Dozens of Nucor-Yamato's team members stepped forward to fight for and defend this company.  It comes as no surprise that so many people were willing to step forward.  Nucor-Yamato prides itself not only on the quality of its products but on the character of its people and is proud of its record of not laying off a single teammate in the face of the biggest recession since the Great Depression.  Nucor-Yamato has brought over 800 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development to northeast Arkansas.  Nucor-Yamato pays some of the most generous wages and provides some of the best benefits of any employer in the state of Arkansas.  

Nucor-Yamato Steel continues to deny that any discrimination occurred at the plant and was pleased that the Eighth Circuit confirmed that there was no evidence of plant-wide discrimination.  Nucor-Yamato Steel believes that it can only succeed if its people succeed and will continue to enforce its long-established practice of maintaining a workplace free of discrimination of any kind.  

SOURCE Nucor-Yamato