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Martin v. Wilks

Martin v. Wilks

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Published by crlstinaaa

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Published by: crlstinaaa on Apr 09, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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InterventionCase: Martin v. Wilks (1989, US) [CB 779-784]Facts: There was a lawsuit by the NAACP against the city of Birminghams,claiming that they are discriminating in their employment practices under TitleVII, and the parties want to enter into a decree. The court has a hearing on itand gives notice of the hearing. The Birmingham Firefighters’ Association triedto intervene, but were denied as untimely, and then the consent decree wasapproved. Then Wilks sues the city for reverse discrimination, but its dismissedb/c the decree was already entered. Wilks argues that it wasn’t a party to theoriginal lawsuit and wasn’t bound by it.Issue: Whether a party can be bound to a decree when they weren't part of theoriginal lawsuit. No.Holding: Wilks not bound to the decree.Reasoning: Joinder (as opposed to notice) is traditionally the way that partiesare subjected to the jurisdiction of a court. The idea is that the parties whoare already in the lawsuit have a better idea about just who they want in thelawsuit and just who they want to bind.Dissent: Says actual notice plus the opportunity to intervene means you can’tcomplain. There is power that comes from the preclusive effect of judgments andtheir binding nature that makes courts reluctant to expand it to parties whoaren’t in the lawsuit.Notes• Martin v. WilksBrings together intervention and class action
But at the same time, it has it the tensions of class actions, and
 extremely controversial case politicallyIn action 1 (1975) a class action suit brought on behalf of black
 firefighters against city of Birmingham§ Settled by consent decree - before settled was put out to publiccommentAnd Birmingham PD, white firefighters commented and moved to
 intervene® The motion to intervene was denied as untimely7 other white firefights sued for an injunction to prevent it
 from going into effect - and denied b/c no irreparable injuryThen other white firefighter bring a suit for money damages -
 for the diff b/c of the promotions they didn’t get® City said they just did what city's decree said to do® What does district court say here?◊ They agreed with city - Ps lose b/c if the city wasdoing what decree requires, then it is doing nothing illegal◊ On appeal, court says that's no good b/c that wouldmean that they would be bound by a decree of which they are not a partyAll 9 justices of supreme court agree - that
 you cannot be bound by a decree entered into an action to which you were not aparty - its unconstitutional, against due process (everyone needs opportunity tobe heard),furthermore, its impossible to say this new
 group of white firefights has been heard (b/c only the association, not a class ofppl, that were the party in the original suit).

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