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Ferrill v. Parker Group, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
168 F.3d 468 (11th Cir. 1999)


The Parker Group, Inc. (TPG) (defendant) was a telephone-marketing corporation that devoted a substantial portion of its operations to making get-out-the-vote calls on behalf of political candidates. About 10 percent of TPG’s get-out-the-vote calls were race-matched. In race-matched calls, black callers were assigned to black voters and given a black script, while white callers were assigned to white voters and given a white script. In advance of the November 1994 election, TPG hired Shirley Ferrill (plaintiff), an African-American woman, as a temporary employee tasked with making get-out-the-vote calls to black voters. Ferrill was laid off from TPG as part of a reduction in force after the election. Ferrill sued TPG under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, claiming that Ferrill’s termination and job assignment had been unlawfully based on race. Both Ferrill and TPG moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of TPG on the unlawful-termination claim, finding that Ferrill’s termination had been pursuant to a reduction in force, which was a legitimate and nondiscriminatory reason for termination. On the claim for unlawful job assignment, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Ferrill, notwithstanding the district court’s finding that TPG had no racial animus in making race-matched assignments. The jury awarded Ferrill $500 in compensatory damages and $4,000 in punitive damages. TPG appealed the ruling on the claim for unlawful job assignment and the jury award.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Alaimo, J.)

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