Class Status Possible in D.C. Metro Bias Case

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Excusing a belated motion, a federal judge left the door open for class certification in a case accusing against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority of denying employment on the basis of race.
     Erik Little is the lead plaintiff behind the 2014 action that claims WMATA, Diamond Transportation and Executive Personnel Services used criminal background checks to disqualify candidates for jobs in a city where blacks make up the bulk of arrests and convictions.
     Diamond and Executive Personnel are staffing agencies that feed employees to WMATA.
     All three defendants have moved to dismiss the case, and U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer noted Thursday that the case has been stalled to give the parties time to agree on a case schedule.
     Though the plaintiffs had moved for class certification after the deadline for the filing had passed, Collyer said the stay in the case extended that deadline.
     “In the instant matter, because discovery has not yet begun and plaintiffs could not have moved for class certification within the 90-day deadline, defendants are in the exact same position as they would have been had plaintiffs sought an extension of their filing deadline,” she wrote. “Thus, any generalized complaints about the increasing number of plaintiffs or class action discovery because such problems ‘are not inherent to the delay itself.'”
     Collyer also noted that striking the class allegations would be “inefficient and unwieldy,” burdening counsel with filing individual plaintiff actions for dozens of individuals who could have been identified as potential class members.
     Metro declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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