A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Ninth Circuit upholds class certification in Wal-Mart gender discrimination case

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled on Tuesday that a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [corporate website] for allegedly discriminating against female employees should go to trial, upholding [opinion, PDF] a 2004 certification of the class [JURIST report]. The court stated that expert opinions, together with factual, statistical, and anecdotal evidence, presented significant proof of a corporate policy of discrimination against female employees nationwide. The court responded to Wal-Mart's claims that the size of the class made it impractical by stating that "although [the] size of this class action is large, mere size does not render a case unmanageable."

Wal-Mart appealed [JURIST report] to the Ninth Circuit in 2005, arguing that the six lead plaintiffs [plaintiffs' website] were not typical or common of the class. Wal-Mart also objected to the size of the class certified, which they say is the largest in US history and would violate its due process rights. Wal-Mart argued that its stores operate independently and should be sued individually; plaintiffs' lawyers countered that individual lawsuits would be impractical. The district court also rejected Wal-Mart's claim that the class size was "impractical on its face" and approved a statistical formula for paying damages if discrimination is proven. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.