Lawrence Lee, Of Counsel in the Denver office, authored an article for the Summer 2007 edition of the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law newsletter titled, "Dukes v. Wal-Mart: The Largest Employment Class Action."
Lee's article focuses on the decision earlier this year by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which upheld the certification of the largest employment class action in American history, in a case involving sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "In Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc., more than 1.5 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees are now class members in a suit that will affect more than 3,400 Wal-Mart stores across the county," states Lee.
The article goes on to detail the history of the case, as well as noting that, "In addition to its scope, the Dukes class action has first-time significance for another reason. The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages on a class-wide basis before a jury ever gets to determine whether individuals have suffered harm." Lee's article details both Wal-Mart's arguments against this approach and the Ninth's Circuit's reasoning in rejecting all of the company's arguments.
Lee also states that "of equal significance, the plaintiffs claimed that under Rule 23(b)(2), injunctive relief predominated over claims for monetary relief, and as a result, class certification was appropriate. Wal-Mart countered that because many of the class members were former employees, they could not benefit from injunctive relief, arguing further that the district court's finding that injunctive relief predominated was an abuse of discretion." The article concludes with an explanation of the Ninth Circuit's rejection of both of Wal-Mart's arguments.
Click here to read the full article (page 5 of PDF file on the ABA website).