Friday, January 19, 2018

City of Colorado Springs settles female police officer lawsuit for $2.5 million

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 5:31 PM

Here's a statement from the female officers' attorney, Donna Dell O'lio:
On January 19, 2018 the City of Colorado Springs settled a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by twelve women police officers. The women claimed that the City’s physical abilities test discriminated against them and was not related to their jobs.
Last July federal District Judge Richard Matsch agreed with the women finding that the Colorado Springs Police Department’s physical abilities test violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal anti‐ discrimination law.
The settlement ends two and one‐half years of litigation.
Donna Dell’Olio, attorney for the women, said that “ The Judge’s ruling and the size of the settlement should discourage other police departments from adopting similar tests that discriminate against women.”
“These 12 police women have made great contributions to the City of Colorado Springs and the Colorado Springs Police Department and will continue to do so.”
“The women have acted bravely to stop a practice that demoralized them and discouraged the retention of women in the police department.”
“Their purpose was always to stop a discriminatory practice from gaining a foot hold and spreading to other police departments. With Judge Matsch’s ruling and the substantial settlement they have achieved a great victory for women.”

————————ORIGINAL POST 5:30 P.M. Friday, Jan. 19——————-

The city of Colorado Springs has settled a federal lawsuit with a dozen current and former female police officers over a physical abilities test the officers alleged was unfair to women.
  • Illustration by Dustin Glanz
The settlement comes after a key decision in the case was issued in July. That's when U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled that a Physical Abilities Test (PAT) used by the Colorado Springs Police Department in 2014 to determine officers’ fitness for duty discriminated against women.

The city asked the court to reconsider the ruling, a necessary step before appealing it to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now we learn the city has decided to have its insurance carriers pay nearly $2.5 million to settle the case. Of that, $882,054 will be paid to the officers' attorneys at Cornish & Dell O'lio of Colorado Springs. The remainder will be split among the dozen plaintiffs, meaning that if divided equally, each would receive $132,441.

As of 2015, the city had paid dearly to defend against the lawsuit, as we reported here. And that tab didn't include court time for hearings along the way.

Here's the upshot of why the city settled:
... defending the lawsuit is a drain on City resources. After considering numerous factors, including the tremendous amount of sworn and civilian employee time involved in a U.S. District Court jury trial in Denver, the length of appellate processes, and the existence of insurance coverage for monetary amounts paid to the Plaintiffs and their attorneys, it was determined that settlement was in the best interests of the City.
The lead attorney for the female officers, Donna Dell O'lio, could not be reached for comment.

Here's the city's full press release:

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