Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs sued Defendant for discriminating against female employees with discretionary pay and promotion practices. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief, and moved to certify the lawsuit as a class action.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The commonality requirement under Rule 23(a) requires convincing proof of at least one common question among members of the class action. Monetary relief is proper under Rule 23(b)(2) when it is incidental to injunctive or declaratory relief.
The class representative must be a part of the class and possess the same interest and suffer the same injury as the class members.View Full Point of Law
Three current and former female Wal-Mart employees (Plaintiffs) sued Wal-Mart (Defendant) for employment discrimination on the basis of sex. The women alleged the discretion given to local managers over pay and promotion disproportionately harmed all female employees, preventing them from gaining better pay and promotions. The Plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief, and moved to certify the lawsuit as a class action representing approximately one and a half million female employees of Wal-Mart.
Have the Plaintiffs met the requirements for a class action under Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(2)?
No, the Plaintiffs have not met the requirements for a class action under Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(2). The lower courts’ decisions are reversed.
Justice Ginsburg agreed with the Court’s decision not to certify the class action under Rule 23(b)(2). But she believed the case should be remanded for the lower courts to determine whether the class action could be certified under Rule 23(b)(3).
The Court determined that the Plaintiffs did not meet the commonality requirement under Rule 23(a) because they did not prove that each female employee was discriminated against in the same way by local managers. Additionally, the Court rejected the Plaintiffs request for monetary relief under Rule 23(b)(2) because each member of the class action would be entitled to different injunctive and monetary relief.