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Alverio v. Sam’s Warehouse Club, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Alverio sought a Batson  challenge when Sam’s Warehouse Club, Inc. sought to strike three women jurors in a sexual harassment case.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A Batson challenge based on gender discrimination cannot succeed if the striking party can assert gender-neutral reasons for the peremptory challenge.

    Facts.

    Alverio sued Sam’s Warehouse Club, Inc. (Sam’s) after being sexually harassed by her manager. Sam’s sought to strike all three women jurors and Alverio sought a Batson challenge claiming that Sam’s sought to strike the women jurors based on their gender. The jury returned a verdict for Sam’s and Alverio appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether a Batson challenge based on gender discrimination will succeed if striking party can assert gender neutral reasons for the peremptory challenge?

    Held.

    No. The judgment of the district court is affirmed. Sam’s attorney provided plausible reasons for striking the female jurors: unemployment, bringing a lawsuit, and employment at an insurance company.

    Discussion.

    In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the Supreme Court ruled that peremptory challenges could not be exercised on the basis of race. The same ruling was extended towards gender discrimination. A Batson challenge requires: (1) the challenging party to make a prima facie case that the striking party made peremptory challenges in a discriminatory manner; (2) the striking party must assert a gender-neutral reason for the challenge; (3) the court must determine whether the peremptory challenges were discriminatory.


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