WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court on
Dec. 6 agreed to consider only one question in the appeal filed by Walmart
seeking to overturn a California federal judge's decision to certify a class of
more than 1 million current and former female employees who claim that the
nation's largest retailer discriminated against them based on their gender (Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. v. Betty Dukes, et al., No. 10-277, U.S. Sup.; See 9/2/2010,
The high court justices limited their review in the case,
which has been touted as the largest employment class action ever to be
certified, to the first question presented: "Whether the class
certification ordered under [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 23(b)(2) was
consistent with Rule 23(a)."
On June 8, 2001, Betty Dukes, Patricia Surgeson, Cleo
Page, Deborah Gunter, Karen Williamson, Christine Kwapnowski and Edith Arana
sued Walmart Stores Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District
of California, seeking to represent a class of approximately 1.6 million of its
employees at 3,400 stores across the United States.
The plaintiffs claim that the Bentonville, Ark., company
made discriminatory decisions based on gender in determining female employees'
pay and eligibility for promotions, resulting in billions of dollars in
On June 22, 2004, Judge Martin Jenkins certified a class
of all current and former employees of Walmart who worked at its U.S. stores at
any time since Dec. 26, 1998. On Dec. 11, 2007, a panel of the Ninth
Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asked that Judge Jenkins limit the class to
exclude workers who were not employed by Walmart at the time the plaintiffs
filed their initial class action complaint on June 19, 2001.
On April 26, the en banc Ninth Circuit affirmed
the panel's 2007 ruling by a vote of 6-5. Walmart then petitioned the
[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the Dec.
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