Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 4:38 PM

Split 9th Circuit Panel Affirms Certification Of Largest Class Action In History

Today the 9th Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed a district court order certifying a sweeping class action in a Title VII sex discrimination suit against Wal-Mart. The case is Dukes v. Wal-Mart. As the 9th Circuit acknowledged, it's "the largest certified class in history." The class consists of about 1.5 million women who work or used to work at in one of Wal-Mart's 3,400 stores across the country since 1998. Judge Kleinfeld dissented, concluding that the certification violates the requirements of Rule 23, threatens the rights of women injured by sex discrimination, and deprives Wal-Mart of due process. He concludes, "Since when were district courts converted into administrative agencies and empowered to ignore individual justice?" For those who litigate class actions, this is an important case.

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