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The Impact of Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes on Class Action and Civil Rights Cases

Monday, September 12, 2011 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


WEBCAST: This seminar is also available live and on-demand via WestLegalEd Center.  Click here to register.

On June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (U.S. 2011), an employment discrimination case brought on behalf of a class of 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees alleging that Wal-Mart's facially neutral discretionary pay and promotion practices have a disparate impact on women.

The Supreme Court amplified the standards for class certification, most notably the standard for proving commonality under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(2). Delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice Scalia maintained that, "…without some glue holding together the alleged reasons for [the millions of employment decisions at issue], it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members' claims will produce a common answer to the crucial discrimination question." The Dukes holding will have a widespread influence on class actions and civil rights cases.

This panel discussion will cover the outcome of and reasoning behind Dukes as well as its implications for class action and civil rights cases. In particular, the panel will provide an overview of the decision, and will discuss the burden of proof for commonality, the availability of damages under Rule 23(b)(2), the use of statistics and expert testimony in support of class certification, the availability of a disparate impact theory, and the effect of Dukes on employment law and women's rights generally.

This program is co-sponsored by the Women's Bar Association and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):




Patricia Johnson


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