story by Margaret Cronin Fisk
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. won dismissal of class-action bias claims in a gender-discrimination lawsuit in federal court in Dallas.
The lawsuit claimed Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, discriminated against women in pay and promotions in the company’s Texas region, which included some stores in neighboring states. The suit sought to represent all women hourly and salaried workers, below store managers, employed by Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club in the region.
The lawsuit was filed last year after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a nationwide class action claiming gender discrimination. U.S District Judge Reed O’Connor dismissed the Texas class complaint today (oct. 15), finding that the lawsuit was brought too late.
The plaintiffs’ class claims “are barred by the statute of limitations, and should be dismissed,” O’Connor said in a 19- page decision. He also dismissed the suit by lead plaintiff, Stephanie Odle, while allowing other individual claims to go forward.
The case is one of four regional lawsuits filed against Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2011. A similar suit is pending in California, and complaints were filed this month in Florida and Tennessee.
“We are pleased that the district court has dismissed the class action claims, recognizing the individuals must pursue their own claims,” said Theodore Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Wal- Mart.
“You can’t piggyback one class action on top of another,” Boutrous said. “This class action was based on the same theories that were rejected by the Supreme Court.”
Joseph Sellers, attorney for the plaintiffs, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.