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

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.