Labor & Employment

With Same Lead Plaintiff at Helm, Lawyers Launch New Class Action 'Armada' Against Wal-Mart


Earlier this year, a 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court sank a massive would-be class action against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., finding that the suit by some 1.5 million current and former women employees was simply too big, with too many different claims, to be pursued as a single case.

But the ruling didn’t determine the merits of the case, and the women are now trying again. With the same lead plaintiff, Betty Dukes, at the helm, attorneys today filed suit in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of at least 45,000 current and former Wal-Mart workers in California. Their lawyers say the suit is the first in a planned “armada” of similar class action litigation nationwide, to address female employees’ gender discrimination claims, according to the Associated Press.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said the company is an excellent workplace for women and contended that the new Dukes suit in California should be dismissed on the same grounds as the earlier class action.

“These claims are unsuitable for class treatment because the situations for each individual are so different,” Greg Rossiter said. “The fact is that the statewide class the plaintiffs would now propose is no more appropriate than the nationwide class that the supreme court has already rejected.”

Joseph Sellers serves as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. He declined to state where further litigation would be filed, but did say at a press conference today that “we are beginning with the locales where the evidence of discrimination is strongest” and predicted more litigation within six months, Reuters reported.

The New York Times (reg. req.) and Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) also have stories.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court Rules Against Wal-Mart Employees Seeking Huge Class Action”

ABAJournal.com: “Suing Wal-Mart Cost Lead Law Firm $7M”

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