Normandy Schools Collaborative removes age discrimination class action to federal court

By Sam Knef | Jun 11, 2018

ST. LOUIS – Normandy Schools Collaborative recently removed a proposed class action alleging age discrimination and 14th Amendment violations filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court to federal court. 

Plaintiffs in the case claim age discrimination in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), disparate impact and pattern and practice discrimination in violation of the MHRA and impairment of contract under state law. Their federal claims include civil conspiracy and violations of the 14th Amendment.

The litigation brought by lead plaintiffs Phyllis Hope, Benita Mercer, Byron Fry, Vonzella Jackson, Geannette Walls, Judith Bronaugh, Laura Johnson, Alice Bell, Barbara Sharp, Hope Lewis, Betty Chism, Marilyn McElroy, Robert Nelson Wanda Weaver, Felecia Hickman, Deblin Thomas, Preston Thomas, Shelia Bumpers, Brenda Glaze, Michael Jackson and Allen Grant asserts seven counts of damages in a second amended complaint.

The defendant, represented by Dorothy White-Coleman and Susie McFarlind of White Coleman & Associates in St. Louis and Melanie Gurley Keeney and Mandi D. Moutray of Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt of St. Louis, argues that U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, has jurisdiction because of alleged violations of federal law.

Normandy Schools also states in its May 25 removal notice that federal court has supplemental jurisdiction because plaintiffs' state law allegations "are so related" to federal claims "as to form part of the same case or controversy."

"Additionally, 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (c) provides that whenever a separate and independent claim or cause of action within the jurisdiction conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 1331 is joined with one or more otherwise non-removable claims or causes of action, the entire case may be removed and the district court may determine all issues therein," the notice states. "Supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ state law claims is also proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) because (i) the state claims do not raise a novel or complex issue of state law; (ii) the state claims do not substantially predominate over the claims over which the district court has original jurisdiction; (iii) the district court has not dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction; and (iv) there are no exceptional circumstances or other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction."

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