Brown v. Nucor

On Friday August 7, 2009, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., granted Brown v. Nucor Corp. class action status—a rarity for race discrimination cases today, and a decision which reversed the district court’s original ruling. Birmingham-based Wiggins Childs Quinn & Pantazis represents the case’s plaintiffs—who for years endured a culture of open racial hostility toward black employees of Nucor Steel’s Hugor, SC plant. Just a few of the plaintiff claims cited in the Circuit Court’s decision: Racial slurs were common, racially-orientedinsults were broadcast over the plant’s PA system, and African American employees were routinely passed-over for promotions—regardless of their qualifications or job performance.

After accepting the case in 2003, Wiggins Childs associated the Charletson firm of Derfner, Altman & Wilborn for local representation. In the wake of the Circuit Court decision, the firms (on Wednesday, August 12) jointly retained Hare Communications to develop and implement a plan to maximize exposure for the case.

Our strategy called for a national media campaign highlighting the facts of the case, coupled with a Press Conference held in Charletson on Tuesday, August18—and attended by members of both firms, several of the plaintiffs, the Charletson NAACP president, and local dignitaries. Highlights of the strong media coverage gained in Charletson, Charlotte, Birmingham, and across the nation can be found below—as well as indicators of the buzz created online.