By Andrew Volin
The massive Dukes gender discrimination class action against Wal-Mart is moving forward again, but on a smaller basis. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that a nationwide class was improper and decertified the class. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011). The case was remanded to the District Court, and the Plaintiffs amended their complaint to focus on discrimination within California. The District Court recently refused to dismiss the case, ruling that Wal-Mart’s arguments about problems with the newly proposed class should be resolved later, in the context of a motion for class certification. Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2012U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135554 (N.D.Cal. Sept. 21, 2012).
The proposed class still includes over a hundred thousand prospective members, and hundreds of corporate decision-makers. Wal-Mart made a variety of arguments to get the Court to dismiss the class allegations altogether, but the District Court rejected them all. The mandate from the Supreme Court did not preclude consideration of a smaller class, and the Plaintiffs adequately alleged facts supporting a plausible claim for relief.
Despite losing the motion to dismiss the class allegations, expect Wal-Mart to argue that the narrower class is still inappropriate for purposes of a class action.