Court of appeals issues ruling in discrimination lawsuit - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Court of appeals issues ruling in Lufkin Industries discrimination lawsuit

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - A federal appeals court has issued a ruling in what may be the final dispute in a federal discrimination lawsuit against Lufkin Industries.

In the ruling, a panel of judges denies a challenge from Lufkin Industries to reconsider back pay damages, but does give a district court permission to reconsider attorneys' fee in the award.

The ruling indicates this may be the final dispute in a lawsuit filed in 1995 concerning a complaint from a black employee that his manager tried to demote him. The complaint led to a class-action lawsuit alleging Lufkin Industries practiced racial discrimination when considering promotions.

Nacogdoches attorney Tim Garrigan represented the plaintiffs, with assistance from a lawyer group in California. The reward for the California attorneys shows to be the final sticking point in the lawsuit.

In a 2009 interview, Garrigan estimated that the plaintiffs will receive about $5 million from the company.

As for the back pay argument, the court stated that anything Lufkin Industries shaved off the damage award would be offset by attorneys' fees the plaintiffs would gain.

"Given this economic reality and the background circumstances, justice is better served by finality," the ruling states.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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