A fifth regional class action gender discrimination case has been filed against Wal-Mart. This latest case, brought in Wisconsin, claims Wal-Mart discriminates against women in pay and promotions at the store level in states such as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.* It joins regional cases already pending in California, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida.
The regional cases are the result of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 ruling in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, which overturned a nationwide class because there was no national policy on which the class was based. The Supreme Court decision did not rule, however, on cases with a narrower geographic scope, which has led to the regional cases.
Wal-Mart has had some success in the regional cases in Texas and Tennessee, persuading courts there that the class action claims are barred by the statute of limitations. The critical legal issue is whether the nationwide class in Dukes "tolled," or stopped, the statute of limitations, and this issue is the subject of varying federal appellate rules in different parts of the country.
* Ladik v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-00123-bbc (W.D. Wis. Feb. 20, 2013).