Thanks, Supremes! Wal-Mart v. Dukes roundup


In my opinion, the Supreme Court's decision issued Monday in Wal-Mart v. Dukes is fantastic for employers. Not all class action litigation is a racket, but much of it is, and plaintiffs' lawyers have been known to use the threat of financial devastation resulting from nationwide class suits to pressure employers into paying large settlements.

(No, really? You don't say!)

The Supreme Court has taken some of the wind out of those sails by requiring that claims based on disparate employment decisions be litigated individually (or, at least, as multi-plaintiff non-class claims, which also require individualized proof).

Not only that, but individualized claims for relief (including damages and injunctions) must also be tried under a procedural rule* that allows putative class members to "opt out" and provides more extensive safeguards for defendants' rights. The Court also said that plaintiffs cannot bypass this requirement by using a random sampling and mathematical formula to calculate class members' individual damages.

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