The New York Times reported today that Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay $160 million to settle a racial discrimination case filed eight years ago on behalf of 700 black brokers.  The settlement funds will be distributed to all Merrill black brokers and trainees employed since May 2001, who may number 1,200.

The Times said that this settlement “would be the largest sum ever distributed to plaintiffs in a racial discrimination suit against an American employer.”

Columbia Law Prof. John C. Coffee Jr was quoted as saying that “This is a somewhat heroic story because these plaintiffs just kept fighting and fighting. This is like a triple-overtime win.”