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December 22, 2014 3:00 PM, EST

Federal Appeals Court Halts $4.7 Million Award to CRST from EEOC

Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

A federal court order for a U.S. government agency to pay nearly $4.7 million in attorneys’ fees and other expenses to a trucking company was put on hold when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court in Iowa.

On Dec. 22, a three-judge panel based in St. Louis ruled that the issue of reimbursement must go back to the U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids in the case of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CRST Van Expedited. The lengthy, complex case on sexual harassment was addressed by the same appellate court in 2012 and now will proceed into next year.

EEOC alleged that CRST, also based in Cedar Rapids, subjected about 270 women to a hostile work environment. The list was later pared down to 154 claims, the appellate court ruling said.

The ruling, written by Judge Lavenski Smith and joined by judges William Riley and Jane Kelly, placed substantial limits on the district court’s authority to shift fees before remanding the case for further consideration.

Smith’s ruling said the issue of fees had become “a second major litigation” and that the trial court “must individually assess each of the claims for which it granted summary judgment to CRST on the merits and explain why it deems a particular claim to be frivolous, unreasonable or groundless.”

Parent company CRST International ranks No. 24 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of for-hire carriers.