NEWS: MAR. 17, 2014:

On March 17, 2014, class counsel filed a motion with the court for attorneys' fees incurred litigating this case since mid-September 2011. You can find a copy of that motion here. The City's payment of these fees is wholly in addition to and will not in any way reduce, delay or otherwise affect monetary amounts, remedies or relief available to class members, all of which have already been received. The fees will be paid by the City directly to class counsel.

NEWS: DEC. 18, 2013:

On December 18, 2013, class counsel filed a motion with the court for reimbursement by the City of costs class counsel have incurred litigating this case since mid September 2011. You can find a copy of that motion here. The City's payment of these costs are wholly in addition to and will not in any way reduce, delay or otherwise affect monetary amounts, remedies or relief available to class members, and will be paid by the City directly to class counsel.

NEWS: JAN. 23, 2013:

Payments for timely and valid claims were mailed on January 18, 2013, by order of court. If you have any questions or need to update your address please call the claims action administrator toll free number 1-855-796-7874.

NEWS: NOV. 8, 2012:

The deadline for filing claims has been extended to November 16, 2012 at midnight Central Standard Time and the date for payment of claims has been extended to January 18, 2013 by order of court. You can obtain and submit a claim form online at www.ChicagoFirefightersClassAction.com.

NEWS: NOV. 1, 2012:

If you are a class member, have already submitted your claim form, and need to update your address please call the claims action administrator toll free number 1-855-796-7874 for instructions.

NEWS: OCT. 25, 2012:

On August 24, 2012, the court entered an order giving class members one more week to submit claim forms. The deadline for submitting a claim form is now midnight Central Standard Time on November 3, 2012. You can obtain and submit a claim form online at www.ChicagoFirefightersClassAction.com.

NEWS: SEPT. 17, 2012:

On August 28, 2012, claims forms were mailed to all eligible class members providing information about how to submit a claim to receive a check for a share of the backpay awarded by the court in this case. You must submit a claim form in order to receive a share of the monetary relief. If you are an eligible class member and have not received this mailing, you can read and download the claim form and instructions from www.ChicagoFirefightersClassAction.com. Claim forms can be submitted by mail or online. They must be returned (postmarked or received on line) by October 27, 2012. Late claim forms will not be accepted. Checks are expected to be mailed out by December 26, 2012. Claims will be processed and checks will be mailed by a professional class action administrator. The claims process is being coordinated by the class action administrator, whom you can contact by calling toll-free at 1-855-796-7874.

NEWS: AUG. 13, 2012:

On August 8, 2012, the District Court signed an order setting the timeline for the distribution of the monetary award. The City has retained a professional Claims Administrator to handle the process. Claim forms are to be mailed by August 28, 2012, they must be returned (postmarked or received on line) by October 27, 2012, and checks are expected to be mailed out by December 26, 2012. The Court order can be viewed here.

The unsuccessful Intervenors (four incumbent firefighters) have filed a notice of appeal of the District Court’s decision. The District Court has already said that if requested, it will not grant a stay (a delay) of the claims process. Class counsel will object to any request by the four incumbents to delay the claims process.

NEWS: AUG. 3, 2012:

On July 31, 2012, the Court denied the Motion to Intervene on behalf of incumbent firefighters. Dates are now being finalized for the mailing that will go out to verify addresses. You should continue to monitor the website. We will post information as it becomes final.

NEWS: JULY 17, 2012:

We continue to expect money to be distributed before the end of 2012, but we cannot yet predict the timing more specifically than that.

On June 14, 2012, three incumbent members of the Chicago Firefighter Department filed a motion with the Court, seeking to intervene in the case. They are African-Americans who were hired off the 1995 list between 2002-2006, when the City began to select at random from among all those test-takers who passed (i.e. scored between 65 and 88). Both plaintiffs’ counsel and the City have opposed this effort at intervention, objecting to: (1) its untimeliness, (2) the potential that it poses for delay, and (3) the potential impact on the relief already awarded by the Court to the members of the plaintiff class. We expect a ruling from the court within the next month. After the Court rules on that motion, we anticipate that the Court will enter an order finalizing the list of people eligible to receive a share of the money, following which there will be a mailing to class members, to confirm addresses before mailing out checks. Again, we still expect money to be distributed before the end of 2012.

NEWS: APR. 11, 2012:

As of last Friday, April 6, 2012, 111 class members have accepted job offers from the Chicago Fire Department and entered the Fire Training Academy, beginning a six-month course of instruction. This fulfills the portion of the court’s judgment mandating hiring.

There are more than 5,000 class members. There were 111 firefighter jobs available under the court’s judgment. Consequently, the vast majority of class members did not receive a job offer, but class members who did not receive get a firefighter job will be eligible to share in the monetary award instead. Final calculations of the dollar amount of that award could not be made until hiring was complete. Those calculations are being finalized now. In public statements, the City has estimated that the amount to be distributed will be $30 million. The actual figure may be higher. The money will be distributed evenly, with each eligible class member receiving the same amount. The money will be distributed before the end of 2012. The distribution will be handled by a professional claims administrator, with procedures for the distribution approved by the court. As more details become available, they will be posted on this website. This day has been a very long time coming.

NEWS: MAR. 28, 2012:

It is with enormous sorrow that we share with you the tragic passing of John Payton, an extraordinary human being and the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.. Among his many other contributions to this case and to the cause of civil rights, John gave a pitch-perfect performance when he presented oral argument in this case before the United States Supreme Court, leading to a unanimous Supreme Court decision in favor of class members, after the Court of Appeals in Chicago had ruled against us. The rest of class counsel, including LDF, will continue to represent class members throughout the remainder of proceedings in this case, as we have until now, albeit with heavy hearts. A copy of LDF’s statement on John Payton’s passing is reproduced below.


1946-2012

John Payton, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and a tireless advocate for justice, equality, and opportunity, died late Thursday after a brief illness. He was 65.   LDF is deeply saddened and mourns this tragic loss. 

John was the 6th leader of LDF, the nation’s first and preeminent civil rights law firm.  During his tenure he guided the organization to resounding legal victories, including Lewis v. City of Chicago, which vindicated the rights of over 6,000 applicants who sought to become firefighters in the City of Chicago, and Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder, which turned back a challenge to the constitutionality of a core provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  To the LDF staff and to a great many others, John was fearless – a guiding light, a brilliant advocate, a mentor and teacher who believed that American democracy thrives when it embraces all of our voices.  LDF extends its deepest condolences to John’s wife, Gay McDougall, and would like to express its gratitude to her for sharing John with us.

A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Pomona College and Harvard Law School, John forged a brilliant career as a corporate attorney at the firm of Wilmer Hale where he headed the firm’s Litigation Department.  But he also always exercised a deep commitment to public service through his pro bono work at the firm.  He took leave from Wilmer during the early 1990s to serve as the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia.  He was president of the District of Columbia Bar from 2001 to 2002, a member of the American Law Institute, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a Master in the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court.  He was also affiliated with a number of civil rights and human rights organizations.

John demonstrated his signature brilliance as lead counsel for the University of Michigan, handling two high-profile cases in the trial court and in the court of appeals and arguing Gratz v. Bollinger in the Supreme Court.  The landmark companion case, Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the Supreme Court upheld race-conscious admissions in higher education, represented the vindication of a strategy, devised and implemented over more than six years to support the educational benefits of diversity.  In 2010 the National Law Journal named John to its list of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers.”  The Washington (D.C.) Bar Association awarded him the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit.

Widely considered one of the country’s most skilled members of the Supreme Court bar, John Payton’s enduring legacy will be his commitment to a principle articulated by LDF’s founder, Charles Hamilton Houston. “What I am more concerned about,” Houston said, “is that the Negro shall not be content simply with demanding an equal share in the existing system. It seems to me that his historical challenge is to make sure that the system [that] shall survive in the United States of America shall be a system which guarantees justice and freedom for everyone.”

LDF’s work will go on, in just the way that John would have wanted.



(Memoriam taken from: http://www.naacpldf.org/update/john-payton-memoriam)

NEWS: FEB. 20, 2012:

On August 21, 2011, the district court entered a judgment against the City and ordered a sweeping remedy. The Court’s order requires the City to: (a) hire 111 African-American class members as candidate firefighters, and (b) distribute tens of millions of dollars in backpay, divided in equal shares among the class members who do not receive an opportunity to be hired.

To select 111 class members, the court approved a fair selection process, which has been under way since last fall. Pursuant to that process, “interest cards” were mailed to more than 6,000 class members asking whether you were still interested in being considered for a firefighter job. Almost 1,700 people timely returned their interest cards, indicating that they were still interested in being considered for a job. As of today, that group of almost 1,700 has, in turn, been narrowed down to approximately 250. From among this group, 111 individuals will enter the Fire Training Academy just a few weeks from now, on March 16, 2012. This day has been a very long time coming in this lawsuit, which was filed in 1998, thirteen years ago, and had to go all the way to the United States Supreme Court and back to get to where we are today.

Because there are only 111 jobs, the vast majority of class members will receive a check instead: before the end of 2012, tens of millions of dollars will be distributed, in equal shares, as checks to class members who are not among the lucky 111 who will enter the Fire Training Academy for training for a firefighter job. Although the final numbers cannot be known until the checks are written, the checks should be for at least $5,000 each. Again, that process should be completed before the end of 2012. We will be back in contact with you when there is more news to report on that front. In the meantime, if your address or telephone number changes, please call the claims action administrator toll free number 1-855-796-7874 for instructions.

Class counsel began work in this case in 1996. They have not yet been paid for their work in this case. On March 21, 2012, class counsel will petition the court for an award of attorney’s fees and costs incurred, during their work in this case. You can find a copy of that petition here. The attorney’s fees and costs do not in any way reduce, or come out of, the monetary award to the class, and will be paid by the City directly to the attorneys.

NEWS: OCT. 25, 2011:

Interest cards were timely received from 1658 class members who indicated their interest in being considered for a candidate firefighter position. On October 21, 2011, 975 of these class members were selected, at random, to advance to the next step of the hiring process, the physical abilities test. Letters have been mailed by the Chicago Fire Department to all 975 class members selected to advance, advising them of their selection and the time and date of their physical abilities test. If you want to check whether you are among the 975 class members selected to advance in the hiring process, click here to see a list. If your name appears on the list but you have not received a letter from the Chicago Fire Department, email or call Veronica Cortez as soon as possible at 312.604.2612 or vcortez@hsplegal.com.

NEWS: OCT. 3, 2011

By Court order, the deadline for receipt of Interest Cards has been extended by almost two weeks until October 17, 2011. The Court acted to avoid an unjust result and to protect class members after the City of Chicago made an error in postage that might have prevented some class members from returning their Interest Cards sooner.

As a result of the Court’s order, class members whose Interest Cards had not been received by class counsel as of last Friday, Sept. 30th will receive a second mailing, giving them a second chance to return an Interest Card. This second mailing was mailed out today, October 3rd.

The second mailing has been sent ONLY to class members from whom we have not yet received an Interest Card. If you returned your interest card and we received it on or before last Friday (Sept. 30), then you will NOT receive the second mailing.

As of last Friday, we had received more than 3,000 Interest Cards from class members. If you want to confirm that we have received yours, you can click the “Contact Us” link on the left-hand side of this page and email us requesting confirmation. Please include your name (first, middle and last), your street address, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number in your email. (We ask for the last four digits of your SSN in order to distinguish class members who share the same first and last name).

On October 21, 2011, approximately 750 class members who have returned Interest Cards and indicated on their cards that they want a candidate firefighter job will be randomly selected to continue to the next step of the hiring process, which is physical abilities testing. The first administration of the Physical Abilities Test will occur on October 31, 2011. If you are one of the approximately 750 class member randomly selected for physical abilities testing, then you will be mailed a letter telling you that. That letter will be sent out on October 21, 2011. After October 21, 2011, if you want to know whether you are one of the approximately 750 class members who has been selected for physical abilities testing, you can click the “Contact Us” link on the left-hand side of this page and email us requesting confirmation. Please include your name (first, middle and last), your street address, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number in your email. (We ask for the last four digits of your SSN in order to distinguish class members who share the same first and last name).

NEWS: September 28, 2011

Please do not call staff of the federal court with questions about whether you are a class member in this case, information contained in the class notice, or returning an interest card. The court will refer you to class counsel. Accordingly, If you have questions, please click the "contact us" button on this website and email us your question.

NEWS: SEPT. 16, 2011

A mailing was sent to all class members on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. If you were not included in the mailing or do not receive the mailing by Sept. 21, 2011, and you believe you are a class member, please email us by clicking here.

(You are a class member if you took the 1995 Chicago Firefighter Examination, your score on that test was between 65 and 88, you are African American, and you were never invited to continue to the next step in the hiring process. You may also be a member of the class if you scored between 65 and 88, you took and passed the physical abilities test, and you were in line to be hired for a Chicago candidate firefighter position when the City stopped hiring applicants from the 1995 Firefighter Examination).

When you receive the mailing, it should include the following materials:

  1. A notice explaining how class members will be selected for one of the 111 candidate firefighter jobs that will be filled by class members in this case;
  2. An interest card that every class member should fill out and return, postmarked no later than October 4, 2011, indicating whether you want to be considered for one of the 111 candidate firefighter jobs. (Both people who opt not to be considered for a job and people who try for job but aren’t ultimately selected for one will receive a share of the backpay money; competing for one of the 111 firefighter jobs does not prevent you from receiving a share of the backpay if you don’t get the job). NOT FORGET TO RETURN THE INTEREST CARD BEFORE OCTOBER 4, 2011;
  3. A medical clearance form that must be filled out and signed by your doctor if you want to compete for one of the 111 firefighter positions. Please make an appointment with your doctor NOW. Do NOT send the medical clearance form back with your interest card. HOLD ON TO IT YOURSELF. You will need it if you are invited to take the physical abilities test, which is the first step in further screening for a firefighter job.
  4. Information about where to get a DVD about the physical abilities test, which is the first step in further screening for a firefighter job. If you are interested in a firefighter job, you should start exercising and training for the physical abilities test now. The physical abilities test will be administered between October 31, 2011 and November 16, 2011. You must pass the physical abilities test to be hired as a candidate Chicago firefighter. Approximately 750 class members will be invited to take the physical abilities test. The 111 class members who ultimately receive candidate firefighter positions will be selected from among the class members who take and pass the physical abilities test.

If you do not receive the mailing, or you receive it but misplace the notice, the interest card or the medical clearance form, you can print these documents from this website.