California Wal-Mart Women File for Class Certification in Federal Court
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Plaintiffs Cite Strong New Evidence in Gender Discrimination
SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plaintiffs in the Dukes v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. gender discrimination case filed a motion for class
certification in federal court on Monday. Attorneys for the plaintiffs seek to
certify three classes covering California Wal-Mart and subsidiary Sam's Club
regions and encompassing some 150,000 former and current employees, according
to plaintiffs' co-lead counsel Randy Renick of Hadsell Stormer Richardson &
"The women who first brought this case have waited over 12 years to have their
claims heard. Without a class action, their rights cannot be vindicated," said
Renick. "It is time that the merits of their claims against Wal-Mart are heard
The case, filed on behalf of Wal-Mart employee Betty Dukes and others, began
in the same U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in June
2001, when the plaintiffs brought suit against Wal-Mart and its subsidiary
Sam's Club alleging pay and promotion discrimination. The District Court
certified the national class in 2004, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court decision on class certification in
2010. Wal-Mart appealed the Ninth Circuit's ruling to the Supreme Court, which
reversed the decision in June 2011.
The current case for class certification is "markedly different" from the case
that went to the Supreme Court in size and scope, according to plaintiffs'
counsel Christine Webber, of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. "We are
asking the District Court to grant certification of these narrower classes
based on our conviction that they are in full compliance with the U.S. Supreme
Court's new guidelines for class actions in employment discrimination cases."
The classes include only women who were subject to pay and promotion
discrimination at 250 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in two California
Wal-Mart regions and one California Sam's Club region from 1998 through 2002.
The case excludes women who worked as store managers or pharmacists during
that time period as well as any claims for promotion into co-manager or store
"When low-wage women workers come together as a class, they have a better
chance at getting equal pay and advancing at their jobs. That is why the
brave women of Wal-Mart have filed this case," said plaintiffs' counsel Noreen
Ferrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA).
In addition to past evidence of pay and promotion discrimination, attorneys
for the plaintiffs also submitted substantial new evidence, including the
declarations of more than 80 women charging pay and promotion discrimination,
new testimony and documents specific to the California regions concerning pay
and promotion practices, and a new analysis showing statistically significant
patterns that women fared far worse in pay and promotions than their male
counterparts in the California regions.
Named California plaintiffs include current Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. workers
Betty Dukes, a 19-year employee who works as a cashier/greeter in a Contra
Costa County Wal-Mart, and Christine Kwapnoski, a 27-year employee who works
as an assistant manager in a Contra Costa County Sam's Club, a subsidiary of
Wal-Mart. Also named are former employees Edith Arana, of Los Angeles County;
Deborah Gunter, of Riverside County; and Patricia Surgeson, of Sacramento
County — all of whom worked at Wal-Mart stores in California.
A hearing on the motion for class certification before the District Court in
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is expected in July 2013.For more information
about the case, visit www.walmartclass.com.
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. plaintiffs are represented by Hadsell Stormer
Richardson & Renick LLP, Pasadena, Calif.; Impact Fund, Berkeley, Calif.;
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, Washington, D.C.; Equal Rights Advocates
(ERA), San Francisco, Calif.; Davis Cowell & Bowe, LLP, San Francisco, Calif.;
and the Law Office of Sheila Thomas.
Editor's Note: Copy of motion, plaintiffs' profiles and interviews available
CONTACT: Pam Avery
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