December 6, 2010

The Supreme Court will decide if Wal-Mart can be sued by a class of 500,000 female employees claiming discrimination.

SCOTUSblog reports on Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes:
The first question will be whether, under Federal court Rule 23, a lawsuit may seek a money verdict — in this case, a claim for back pay — when the class was created under a provision that limits remedies to corrective court orders, not money.   Besides agreeing to hear that, the Court told the parties to file briefs and prepare to argue on a second question — whether the class was a proper one, under Rule 23, when it was cleared to go forward under Rule 23(b)(2)....

Wal-Mart’s petition had raised a second question that embraced the broader argument that no class should have been approved at all, since the claims made by the women employees were so disparate and so diffuse that they really had nothing in common, and that, as a result, Wal-Mart would not have been able to mount a defense to such claims....

The class approved in this case is the largest ever certified in a job bias context, but is also among the largest of any class certified in any case in federal courts....

The sex discrimination class-action case against Wal-Mart was actually started more than nine years ago as a race bias case involving a single company employee — Betty Dukes, a black woman who is a “greeter” at the company’s store in Pittsburg, Calif.  It later became a class-action lawsuit with six original plaintiffs, including Dukes, contending that the company has engaged in pay and promotion discrimination against women throughout the chain.
MORE: Adam Liptak and Steven Greenhouse have this:
Wal-Mart, which says its policies expressly bar discrimination and promote diversity, said the plaintiffs, who worked in 3,400 stores in 170 job classifications, cannot possibly have enough in common to make class-action treatment appropriate. “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has granted review in this important case,” Wal-Mart said in a brief statement. “The current confusion in class-action law is harmful for everyone — employers, employees, businesses of all types and sizes and the civil justice system. These are exceedingly important issues that reach far beyond this particular case.”...

Brad Seligman, the main lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Monday that plaintiffs welcomed the court’s review of the limited issue and were confident that the justices would rule in their favor. “Wal-Mart has thrown up an extraordinarily broad number of issues, many of which, if the court seriously entertained, could very severely undermine many civil rights class actions,” Mr. Seligman said.
The decision in the 9th Circuit was written by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins — who, incidentally, is one of the judges in the Prop 8 case. (I spent what seems like the entire day listening to the oral argument in that case.)
[W]riting for the majority, [Hawkins] said the company’s policies and treatment of women were similar enough that a single lawsuit was both efficient and appropriate....

[Dissenting, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote:] “Maybe there’d be no difference between 500 employees and 500,000 employees if they all had similar jobs, worked at the same half-billion square foot store and were supervised by the same managers”....

“They have little in common but their sex and this lawsuit,” Judge Kozinski concluded.

29 comments:

Scott M said...

Do they have to prove that it's institutionalized bias to win damages, or simply prove to a jury that the incidents occurred?

bagoh20 said...

The working class is being replaced by the whining class.

rhhardin said...

Walmart's chief innovation was finding a working business model that made unskilled workers profitably employable.

Naturally lefties want to bring it down.

MadisonMan said...

I'm confident that the SC will be kind to Wal*Mart.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knox said...

Yes. Never mind that it provides numberous affordable necessities for poor people.

knox said...

That was a reply to rh's comment

Trooper York said...

This is part of the effort to destroy Wal-Mart. In NYC they hate them so much that they tried to ban them.

Liberals hate cheap goods for the poor peoples.

peter hoh said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Supreme Court will rule in WalMart's favor.

Trooper York said...

Ya think. I don't know. What happens if they:

"RELEASE THE KAGEN"

Scott M said...

"RELEASE THE KAGEN"

Hysterical.

cubanbob said...

"The first question will be whether, under Federal court Rule 23, a lawsuit may seek a money verdict — in this case, a claim for back pay — when the class was created under a provision that limits remedies to corrective court orders, not money. Besides agreeing to hear that, the Court told the parties to file briefs and prepare to argue on a second question — whether the class was a proper one, under Rule 23, when it was cleared to go forward under Rule 23(b)(2)...."

It would appear that the court took this case simply to curb class action suits.

Trooper York said...

Hey is she related to Hazel Dukes?

William said...

I would like to know the body mass index and height of the Wal Mart managers. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if further research doesn't show that Wal Mart is discriminating against the overweight and vertically challenged. And what about the left handed and the red haired? This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Trooper York said...

And I bet they discriminate against the Jews.

It's just the tip of the Goldberg.

David said...

Of course they have something in common.

They are female.

Ken said...

The class action suit is the most abused legal procedure in America. In any class action suit undertaken on a contingency basis the total award to all plaintiff's attorneys, including expenses, should be no more than the average award to the plaintiff times the square root of the number in the class. If a class of 100 got $100 each, then the attorneys are capped at $1000. If a class of a million got $10 each the attorneys should be capped at $10,000.

We all pay for the shysters and parasites who recruit classes that get $1 per while millions flows to the lawyers and the Democratic politicians who protect them. We all pay more at Walmart and every other store to keep class action attorneys in caviar and Jaguars.

jr565 said...

Makes it hard to justify hiring women, doesn't it. because how many are simply going to jump on the bandwagon next time there's a class action suit based on gender? Clearly, these 500,000 women are not trustworthy enough to hold positions of authority.

ndspinelli said...

Just another reason to shop @ Target.

Lyle said...

Wal-Mart for the win, I think. I'm not an expert expert on class action lawsuits, but looks like the plaintiffs went too far with their construction of a class.

David said...

The first question will be whether, under Federal court Rule 23, a lawsuit may seek a money verdict — in this case, a claim for back pay — when the class was created under a provision that limits remedies to corrective court orders, not money.

Assuming the foregoing states the issue accurately, why is this even remotely hard?

c3 said...

Hey, WalMart is a massive, profitable impersonal corporation.

It HAS to be guilty!

Methadras said...

c3 said...

Hey, WalMart is a massive, profitable impersonal corporation.

It HAS to be guilty!


You also forgot exploitative and of course, EVIL!!! Because large multi-nation corps exhibit the same traits as humanity in their total disregard for human life. Because an evil corporation is harmful to leftards everywhere and gives them a right to complain about it.

kimsch said...

@jr565

but women are paid 77 cents on the dollar compared to men...

so they're cheaper,

but they sue

so they're more expensive....

ahhh {tears hair out}

/sarc

wv: ledati

ricpic said...

I always feel vaguely suspect when being greeted by a Walmart greeter.

Bruce Hayden said...

but women are paid 77 cents on the dollar compared to men...

But that pay differential almost entirely disappears when you control for education, hours worked, years full time in the job, ease of entering and leaving the workforce, and the danger of the job.

The basic problem for women is that they don't work as hard for as long as men at their jobs. I am not talking for a couple of years, but rather, for 30 or 40 years. Most women who have kids work less during that time than their male cohorts. They may be working 40 hours a week when the men are working 60, or they may be working 25 when the men work 40. And, they may take a bit of time off too.

All this takes its toll over a career.

As for danger, note that women make up only a percent or two of the on-the-job fatalities each year. There are evolutionary reasons for that - but the risk differential for such jobs is another reason that men make more than women. Men also do most of the jobs with the hardest physical labor component. Again, for good evolutionary reasons. But nevertheless, another reason that men make more money than women, on average.

Keep in mind that it is not economically rational to pay women less than men for the identical job with identical qualifications. And, while this may not be true on the micro level for some firms, when you get to the size of Wal-Mart, a company does not survive and prosper by discriminating. Not so much because of the potential for lawsuits, but rather, because they would lose out to companies that do not discriminate, and therefore get more labor for their money.

Revenant said...

I was sort of hoping that someone would approve an "entire population of the United States" class for one of the ObamaCare lawsuits.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"The Supreme Court will decide if Wal-Mart can be sued by a class of 500,000 female employees claiming discrimination."

No.

The Supreme Court will decide that Wal-Mart cannot be sued by a class of 500,000 female employees claiming discrimination.

And I'll wager you $100 that I'm right and that your headline is wrong.

Timon said...

Wal-mart employees generally do not rise to the level of working class.