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Judge levies $1.2-million against Fulton County for racial discrimination

6:17 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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  • Former Fulton County employee Doug Carl
  • Former Fulton County Manager Thomas Andrews
  • Fulton County Commissioner Emma Darnell
    

ATLANTA - A federal judge has awarded a former Fulton County employee $1.2 million in a racial discrimination case that keeps growing.

In a March 31 order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman quadrupled the $300,000 a jury awarded to Douglas Carl, last August.

"It's exhausting, mentally, emotionally and often physically exhausting; it's been six years and it continues," Carl told 11 Alive News on Wednesday.

Fulton County Manager Thomas Andrews promoted an African-American woman to the job of Director of Human Services in 2007, even though Carl had been deputy director and was serving as interim director at the time.

Last summer, jurors declared evidence proved Carl was a victim of discrimination "on the basis of his race or gender".

During the trial, former County Manager Andrews admitted referring to employees as "black marbles" and "white marbles" in making personnel decisions, but denied discriminating against Carl.

There was also second hand testimony that Fulton County Commissioner Emma Darnell supposedly said she had "too many white boys" in the Human Services Department and that she wanted a black female for the job.

Darnell denied the comments, condemning them as "rank hearsay".

In addition to the jury's award of $300,000 in back pay, Judge Baverman has now awarded Carl an additional $885,293 in back pay, interest and lost pension benefits.

The court has yet to rule on attorneys' fees, which Carl's lawyers say could add another $500,000 to the judgement for a possible total of $1.7-million.

"The legal system has sided in my favor and I'm just beyond pleased and relieved with it all," Carl said of the quadrupled award, which he is counting on for retirement.

After last summer's trial, then Fulton County Attorney David Ware sent 11 Alive News a statement disputing the verdict and saying the county would appeal to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court.

When asked about the higher award on Wednesday, the county attorney's office replied, "As contemplated by the Georgia Bar Rules, it is the County Attorney's policy to not comment on pending litigation matters."

This is the second discrimination case involving Commissioner Emma Darnell.

In 2004 the U.S. Supreme Court denied the county's appeal of a racial discrimination verdict that awarded $18-million to eight librarians who claimed they were demoted for being white.

Their attorney produced recordings of library board meetings in which members could be heard saying "there were too many whites" in management and it was "not welcoming to black folks to see so many white faces".

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