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Consumer Law

Brockton, MA, reaches $4.7M settlement over discrimination claims

Two years after a jury sided in favor of the plaintiff, the city of Brockton is paying out a $4.7 million settlement in connection to the lawsuit won by Russell Lopes, a former applicant for a job at the Department of Public Works who claimed he was denied the position due to racially biased employment discrimination.

Mayor Moises Rodrigues said the settlement was finalized around 4:30 p.m. on Friday. In addition to damages that will be paid out to Lopes and attorney fees, Rodrigues said the settlement includes funds for an educational anti-discrimination and diversity program that will be used to train city employees.

Rodrigues, who took office by appointment following the death of former mayor Bill Carpenter, said he felt it was important to settle the case, to avoid a costly class action trial and the potentially massive damages that Lopes’ attorney was pursuing on behalf of a group of other minority applicants that he claimed also faced a discriminatory hiring process.

Two years ago, Lopes was awarded more than $4 million by a jury, which included $1.2 million in punitive damages for employment discrimination. Lopes’ attorney previously stated that members of the class included around 40 minorities who applied for city jobs, and that he hoped to get a judgment that would provide each of them $1.2 million for punitive damages for employment discrimination.

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