Ninth Circuit Issues Walmart Class Certification Opinion

Dukes v. Walmart is the massive class action filed on behalf of some 1.5 million current and former female employees. Back in 2007, we posted about this case here and here.

An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit just issued a "rather lengthy" opinion (read: super-long). It's a scholarly exposition of class action certification law. It makes a law review article read like a comic book.

The court's intention is to clarify the standards for class certification in the Ninth Circuit for cases brought or removed to federal district court. Federal court class action practitioners are going to want to read this opinion again and again. They're going to have to, because the majority's opinion is a bit, well, windy.

I will spare you the details because you can read as much of the opinion as you can stand. To sum up, the court is permitting the certification of a class of hundreds of thousands of current workers claiming sex discrimination. The court, however, remanded the case to the district court regarding whether to allow a separate class of former employees, and whether punitive damages makes the case inappropriate for certification.

The case is Dukes v. Walmart and the opinion is here.