Gender discrimination plaintiffs ask court to reconsider ruling that favored Walmart

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 271 views 

Three women who were part of the landmark Dukes v Walmart class action suit recently filed a petition asking a federal judge to reconsider his Aug. 16 ruling in Walmart’s favor with a gender discrimination case.

U.S. Judge Robert Scola Jr. ordered the case brought by Kathleen Forbes, Linda Ray, and Edna Remington closed. In his ruling, the judge cited the plaintiffs’ failure to provide enough evidence to push their individual claims further.

“It appears to be only a matter of time before Plaintiffs’ counsel manages to get it right with one of a dozen cases now pending before the court,” Scola noted in his conclusion.

He said “in the right case with the right advocacy, a female with better facts should be able to assemble a powerful case of gender discrimination that these Plaintiffs allege has plagued the entire Walmart operation for many years.” He urged both sides to carefully consider federal civil procedure rules before pursuing or defending other cases in his court. Scola called the case and pending motions “moot,” and ordered the upcoming trial date for Sept. 16 canceled.

The plaintiffs alleged they were underpaid and passed over for promotions during their time at Walmart. Scola said they couldn’t prove their claims. Counsel for the women filed a petition for reconsideration of judgment with the court on Aug. 22, claiming Walmart hamstrung the case by refusing to turn over key evidence until it was too late for them to respond.

For instance, the claims made by the plaintiffs were brought under “disparate treatment,” claiming men were treated more fairly by management. Scola said there was not sufficient evidence to prove this theory. Plaintiffs claim that was because Walmart failed to turn over evidence material to their case until three days prior to the deadline.

Lindsey Waggoner, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Talk Business & Politics the women got their individual right to sue Walmart from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and they have done so upon receiving that right. She said plaintiffs await a court response to their motion for reconsideration.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove sent Talk Business & Politics the following response to the recent filing.

“We believe the court ruled correctly when it granted our motion for summary judgment and found the three plaintiffs failed to demonstrate they had been discriminated against in pay or promotion based on their gender. Walmart has had a strong policy against discrimination in place for many years, and the allegations are not representative of the positive experiences millions of women have had working at our company.”

This case, Forbes, Ray, Remington v Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (9:17-cv-81225-RNS) was filed in the Southern District of Florida.

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