Cases & Deals

Federal jury finds racial discrimination in Zanesville, Ohio water case

Clients Zanesville Ohio Water

Jones Day's Columbus office devoted 4,532 hours to helping Coal Run, an African-American community in Ohio that had been denied public water service for more than 50 years. The case involved 67 plaintiffs who were forced to haul water to their homes because city and county officials had denied their requests for public water. After the Ohio Civil Rights Commission issued a probable-cause determination of racial discrimination and suit was filed in federal court for violation of the Fair Housing Act and other discrimination laws, Jones Day was asked to serve as colead counsel. Leading up to trial, the Jones Day team conducted 99 depositions, reviewed tens of thousands of discovery documents, and defended against and won a summary judgment. In the seven-week trial, the trial team put on more than 70 witnesses, and after two weeks of deliberation, the jury handed down a unanimous verdict in favor of the Coal Run residents, awarding them nearly $10.9 million in compensatory damages.

"This decision speaks firmly about the importance of treating citizens with equal respect, regardless of race. We are pleased that relief was provided to those who suffered as the result of discrimination."

Nancy H. Rogers, Former Ohio Attorney General, July 2008

Jerry R. Kennedy, et al. v. City of Zanesville