Hogan Lovells Pro Bono team secures racial discrimination settlement for African-American Secret Service agents

WASHINGTON, D.C., 18 January 2017 – Hogan Lovells is proud to announce that a class of more than 100 current and former African-American Secret Service Agents has prevailed in race discrimination claims against the United States Secret Service. The decision follows more than 16 years of hard fought litigation.

The class settlement will ensure that future generations of African-American Secret Service Special Agents are evaluated under a fair promotions process, allowing best qualified agents to be chosen for promotion and leadership positions.

Hogan Lovells US LLP and Relman Dane Colfax, lawyers for the Plaintiffs, were appointed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to represent the class. The firms have spent significant time and resources to address the pervasive racial discrimination problems that have plagued the Secret Service for decades.

“Our clients are thrilled with their victory in the long-running struggle to ensure that future generations of African-American Secret Service agents do not suffer the same racial discrimination the Plaintiffs faced in the promotions process at the agency,” said Hogan Lovells partner Des Hogan, who served as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “This victory, won on behalf of more than 100 African-American Secret Service Agents who risked their lives every day to protect our leaders and our financial system, at long last means that no Agent will be constrained by the glass ceiling that held back so many so many for so long.  It has been an honor to work on behalf of this incredible group of men and women who were so committed to making sure that justice was achieved.”

The settlement provides significant monetary relief for the Plaintiffs who, on average, will receive well over $100,000 in compensation for the discrimination they suffered.

The firms representing the class have won significant victories for their clients over the course of case. Those include winning class certification—which the Secret Service unsuccessfully challenged on appeal to the D.C. Circuit — and an important sanction, in which the Court held that the Secret Service had deliberately destroyed documents relevant to the case and thus barred it from putting on a defense to certain claims.

The Hogan Lovells Pro Bono team was led by Washington, D.C. partner Des Hogan and included Appellate practice co-head Cate Stetson, senior associate Katie Ali and associate Alicia Paller. Key Hogan Lovells alumni who worked on the matter include Debbie Boardman, Melissa Henke, and Erica Songer.

About Hogan Lovells

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“Hogan Lovells” or the “firm” is an international legal practice that includes Hogan Lovells US LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP. For more information, see www.hoganlovells.com.


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