Gray v. City of Bruce, MS

Roderick Keith Gray v. City of Bruce, Mississippi

U.S.D.C., Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division

Cause No. 3:11-cv-00090-MPM

On January 14, 2014, a jury in the United States District Court in Oxford, Mississippi, awarded Roderick Gray of Pittsboro, Mississippi, $18,000.00 in actual damages against the City of Bruce, Mississippi.

The jury found that the City of Bruce failed to promote the nineteen-year city employee to the position of Public Works Director because of his race (black). In 2010, Roderick Gray, the only applicant with state certification to operate the city’s water and wastewater systems, was denied a promotion to the position of Public Works Director. The position was given, instead, to a white, out-of-state applicant. The jury – composed of seven (7) white individuals and one (1) black individual – awarded Gray lost pay of $18,000.00. Chief Judge Michael P. Mills had dismissed the case in September 2012, finding Gray did not have sufficient evidence. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, reversed the decision, ruling that whether Gray’s race was the reason for his not getting the job was a question for a jury, not a judge, to decide.

Attorney for Plaintiff was Jim Waide of Waide & Associates, P.A. in Tupelo, Mississippi. Attorneys for Defendant were Gary E. Friedman and Mark D. Fijman of Phelps Dunbar LLP in Jackson, Mississippi. Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills presided over the two-day trial.