Barham v. City of AtlantaAnnotate this Case
A group of firefighters brought a class action lawsuit against the City of Atlanta alleging that the city breached its employment contracts with the firefighters as well as its statutory obligation to provide a fair and impartial promotional process by failing to prevent cheating on a fire lieutenant promotional exam. The trial court issued an interlocutory injunction prohibiting the city from making any permanent promotions based on the results of the challenged exam and providing that all appointments would be temporary pending a final decision on the merits of the case. After the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, the trial court crafted a permanent injunction that contained mandatory instructions regarding how the city must re-test. Appellants, all of whom are firefighters who scored 90 or higher on the first exam, appealed the permanent injunction to challenge provisions of the injunction that treated them as "probable cheaters." Appellees (named plaintiffs in the class action), moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing that appellants lacked standing to challenge the trial court’s judgment because they were not parties to the original action and because the judgment was not entered against them. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court found appellants had standing to appeal the judgment in this case. Further, the Court held that the trial court abused its discretion in fashioning injunctive relief specific to appellants and erred in entering judgment against them. Accordingly, the Court vacated those portions of the permanent injunction that required the city to treat appellants differently from class members.