Wal-Mart Judge ‘Seriously Concerned’ Gender Case Is Blocked

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) may be able to block a discrimination suit brought by 45,000 female employees in California because of an earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the retailer’s favor in a broader case, a judge said.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco said at a hearing today that he’s “seriously concerned” that lawyers for the women haven’t shown enough evidence to allow the group, or class action, complaint filed in October to proceed. The judge said he’ll review the matter and issue a ruling later.

A group of more than 1 million women across the U.S. were barred from proceeding with their discrimination claims in a single lawsuit when the Supreme Court ruled last June that the plaintiffs failed to prove the world’s largest retailer had a nationwide policy that led to gender discrimination.

Lawyers for the women filed new lawsuits, narrowing plaintiff groups to workers in California and Texas, after the Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit involving a nationwide group.

The California case is Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 01- cv-02252, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The Supreme Court case is Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 10-00277, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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