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Pullman-Standard v. Swint

United States Supreme Court
456 U.S. 273 (1982)


Swint, et al. (plaintiffs) brought suit against Pullman-Standard (defendant) for employment discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the plaintiffs challenged the validity of a seniority system put in place by Pullman-Standard. The district court held that implementation of the system did not amount to an intent to discriminate and found in favor of Pullman-Standard. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Court of Appeals) reversed, but did not remand, holding that the system did in fact amount to an intent to discriminate. In doing so, the Court of Appeals recognized the “clearly erroneous” standard of Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but held that its reversal was based on the district court’s erroneous view of a controlling legal principle—not facts—and so the standard did not apply. Pullman-Standard appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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