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DOT Suit Ends After Two Decades

By Associated Press

Montgomery, AL – A racial discrimination lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Transportation is ending after more than 21 years, with legal battles that cost the state more than 200 (M) million dollars. It brought dramatic advances for black employees. The litigation -- costing nearly 56 (M) million dollars for attorney fees and nearly 63 (M) million in payments to employees -- has gone on so long that six different governors have been involved with it. The original plaintiff, Johnny Reynolds, died two years ago without seeing a resolution. Reynolds sued the Department of Transportation in May of 1985, when Gov. George C. Wallace was serving his last term. The lawsuit contended discrimination in the highway agency's hiring and promotion of blacks. Eventually, some white employees joined in, saying they were also discriminated against because they weren't promoted during the drawn-out litigation. With the case over, Assistant Transportation Director Dan Morris says it means D-O-T can function just like any other state department. The department can hire with the normal hiring procedures.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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