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ERIC Updates


<nobr>Jul 19, 2005</nobr>

The Erie Saga Continues: District Court to Reconsider Judgment

At the request of the court, EEOC and AARP filed briefs respectively supporting and opposing the EEOC’s Motion for Relief from Judgment (Rule 60(b)) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as requested by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody in AARP v. EEOC. The Department of Justice, on behalf of the EEOC, filed a Motion for Relief from Judgment on June 30, 2005. AARP filed its Motion in Opposition along with a supporting brief on July 14, 2005.

In AARP V. EEOC, Brody ruled on March 30, 2005 that the practice of allowing employers to coordinate health benefits with Medicare was discriminatory and that EEOC could not exempt a practice specifically determined to violate the statute. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) provides the EEOC with specific authority to exempt from the Act practices, which, if prohibited, would be detrimental to public policy. EEOC filed an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Motions for Relief from judgment were requested by Judge Brody following the June 29 U.S. Supreme Court decision in National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services in which the court held that deference should be given to administrative agency rulings. Brand X was decided subsequent to Brody’s decision in AARP v. EEOC.

In Brand X, the Supreme Court ruled that “a federal court [is required] to defer to an agency’s construction, even if it differs from what the court believes to be the best interpretation, if the particular statute is within the agency’s jurisdiction to administer, the statute is ambiguous on the point at issue, and the agency’s construction is reasonable.”

In light of the Brand X decision, Judge Brody asked the parties to file motions in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the appeal and remand the case to her so that she could reconsider her earlier decision.

EEOC’s motion contends the agency was well within its statutory authority to grant the exemption and that the Supreme Court’s decision in Brand X effectively compels the court to recognize the agency’s special expertise. In its Motion in Opposition, AARP contents that Brand X does not undermine in any way the analysis or the result reached by the court in its March 30, 2005 memorandum opinion.

Please stay tuned to ERIC OnLine for further details as we get them.


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Motion for Relief from Judgment (Rule 60(b) Motion).

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s memorandum in support of its Motion for Relief from Judgment.

AARP’s memorandum in opposition to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Motion for Relief from Judgment.

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