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Is the Wal-Mart Class Action Dead?

August 11, 2011
Colson Hicks Eidson

The U.S. Supreme Court said that the Wal-Mart lawsuit could not proceed as a class action because the plaintiffs do not have enough in common. While Wal-Mart celebrated the decision, the plaintiffs plan to re-group and file smaller or individual lawsuits against the retail giant, according to Reuters.

The decade-long Wal-Mart class action stems from allegations by female employees that Wal-Mart discriminated against women in hiring, promotion, job selection, pay decisions and training. Six women originally filed the discrimination lawsuit, which grew to about 1.5 million plaintiffs. Now, their attorneys say smaller class action claims are a possibility.

Attorneys for Wal-Mart feel differently, however. A Wal-Mart attorney said the Supreme Court decision puts an end to any size of class action case. Individual cases are the plaintiffs’ only option, according to the attorney.

What is the lingering effect of the Court’s decertification, or breaking-up, the class action suit? Some experts say there is no effect. Other large class actions still have just as much chance of moving forward, said one attorney. Others have a more dismal outlook. One attorney commented it makes a tougher barrier for all types of class actions, including ones not based on gender discrimination.

Either way, the plaintiffs appear to have plenty of fight left in the tank. Do you think they stand a better chance with individual lawsuits, as opposed to a class action?

Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida class action attorneys