Plaintiff raised a Batson challenge after the Defendant used peremptory challenges to remove all women from the jury pool. The trial judge dismissed the Batson challenge and the suit went to trial.
In a Batson challenge, the moving party must present a prima facie showing of discrimination, the nonmoving party must present gender-neutral reasons for removing the prospective juror, and the court must determine if the moving party has carried the burden of proving discrimination in response to the nonmoving party’s gender-neutral reasons.
Carmen Alverio (Plaintiff) sued her employer, Sam’s Warehouse Club, Inc. (Defendant), for sexual harassment by her manager. For the jury trial, the prospective jurors consisted of eleven men and three women. Defendant used peremptory challenges to remove all three women. Plaintiff raised a Batson challenge, but the trial court accepted the Defendant removed the women because of their lack of work experience.
Did the lower court err in dismissing Plaintiff’s Batson challenge?
No, the Plaintiff did not prove purposeful discrimination under the Batson challenge.
While the parties agree the Plaintiff properly established a prima facie showing of discrimination, the Court determined that the Defendant sufficiently articulated gender-neutral reasons for bringing peremptory challenges against the three prospective female jurors. The Court noted that it has before accepted work experience, profession, and educational levels as acceptable, gender-neutral reasons for peremptory challenges.