Wal-Mart v. Dukes: A Giant Win for Wal-Mart; Smaller Steps for Everyone Else

20 June 2011
View Client Update

Key takeaways 

  • The Supreme Court unanimously held that the Ninth Circuit was wrong to have certified a sex discrimination class comprising 1.5 million current and former Wal-Mart employees. The injunctive-class provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) cannot be used to litigate individualized claims for money damages. 
  • A five-justice majority went further, holding that plaintiffs must affirmatively demonstrate (and not just allege) satisfaction of all Rule 23 elements, and tightening the "commonality" requirement of Rule 23(a)(2). 
  • Going forward, class plaintiffs now must allege that putative class members suffered the same injury and that the question they raise truly is capable of resolution on a classwide basis.