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Hogan Lovells Helps Secure Class Certification in Race Discrimination Case Against Secret Service

08 March 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C., 8 March 2013 – Hogan Lovells is pleased to announce that, in a long-running race discrimination case against the United States Secret Service, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled that plaintiffs had presented evidence that the Secret Service engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination in failing to promote African Americans, which warrants trying the claims of 120 current and former agents as a class action. 

In rejecting all of the Secret Service’s arguments against certification of the class in Moore v. Napolitano, the court reviewed significant statistical evidence and dozens of declarations describing individual experiences of discrimination offered by the plaintiffs. The court ruled that the plaintiffs’ expert — who found statistically significant evidence of race discrimination — offered “relevant” and “reliable” testimony that discrimination has occurred at the agency, which was corroborated by the sworn testimony of more than 60 current and former African-American Secret Service agents. 

“We are thrilled about the court’s decision, and we think it will finally bring a case that has been pending for many years to trial,” said Desmond Hogan, the Washington, D.C.-based partner who led the team of Hogan Lovells lawyers working on this matter. “The government shouldn’t be wasting its resources defending a case in which it has been sanctioned for destroying evidence, in which the class has been certified, and where there have been demonstrated years of discrimination against our clients.”

This important legal ruling comes on the heels of congressional leaders criticizing the Secret Service for failing to resolve this long-running litigation and the underlying systemic problems with race discrimination at the agency that have persisted for decades. Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, recently wrote that he was “troubled that so little progress on diversity has been made” at the Secret Service in recent years. 

Absent resolution of the action by the Secret Service, the Moore case will be set for trial expeditiously.

Hogan Lovells, which is providing legal services pro bono, represents the class with a team from Relman, Dane & Colfax.

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