Betty Dukes

2015 Trial Date Sought in Wal-Mart Gender Bias Case

The long-running gender discrimination battle between women workers and Wal-Mart has failed to reach the latest effort at settlement and instead both sides are proposing a trial date of June 2015.

In a joint order filed Friday, lawyers for Betty Dukes and Wal-Mart stated, “the parties explored the possibility of an extra-judicial resolution of this lawsuit, but no agreement has been reached to date.”

The papers propose a series of briefing dates with a trial to tentatively begin June 1, 2015 in San Francisco.

Dukes sued in 2001 claiming the company discriminated against women in pay and promotion.  Through the years the case has failed to get past the hurdle of certifying a class of similarly situated women.  Without class status, individual claims become too expensive to litigate.

The U.S. Supreme Court originally rejected the class action as too disparate and wide-ranging to resolve a common legal question for all members of the class.  The case could simply not be tried as a class action at the size proposed by the plaintiffs.

The case has been significantly scaled back since the Supreme Court ruling, from its original 1.5 million to 150,000 workers, but even so, it failed to qualify as a class action, according to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in an August 2013 order.

The plaintiffs, led by Dukes, asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow an appeal of that order prior to a trial and the court refused in November.

Case:  Dukes v. Wal-Mart, No. 10-cv-3005CRB



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