California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
Dec. 14 2010

United States Supreme Court Will Review Class Certification Order in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

Topics: Class Actions, Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation

On December 6, 2010, the United States Supreme Court announced that it would review the Ninth Circuit's class certification order in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart case, in which the plaintiffs allege that Wal-Mart discriminated against women in its pay and promotion practices in its stores throughout the country. If the class certification order is affirmed, Dukes would be the largest employment discrimination class action in history, with enormous potential exposure at stake. The district court first certified the case for class treatment back in June 2004. After years of appeals in which the class certification decision was challenged multiple times, the Ninth Circuit again affirmed class treatment, most recently in April 2010. Whatever the outcome, the Supreme Court's decision in Dukes will likely serve as the new standard for evaluating class treatment in employment cases, including, among other questions, whether and how expert evidence might attempt to manage individualized issues of liability and damages for an entire class of employees, and whether such expert methodologies can be utilized without intruding on an employer's due process right to challenge individual claims. We will continue to monitor the progress of this case and will report any developments.

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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