Wal-Mart v. Dukes....Mega Businesses Too Big to Sue? On June 20, 2011, the United States Supreme Court issued the eagerly awaited opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the largest employment class action in U.S. history. Three plaintiffs brought a class action on behalf of 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, punitive damages, and back pay for the company's alleged discrimination of women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The named plaintiffs claimed Wal-Mart discriminated against women by denying its female employees pay or promotions equal to its male employees. According to the Court, "The basic theory of [the plaintiffs'] case is that a strong and uniform 'corporate culture' permits bias against women to infect, perhaps subconsciously, the discretionary decision-making of each one of Wal-Mart's thousands of managers-thereby making every woman at the company the victim of one common discriminatory practice." Reversing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court held this theory failed to satisfy the commonality prong of the class certification test because it failed to show the class members suffered the same injury, rather than just suffering a violation of the same law.
Based in part on the following language from the opinion, commentators have surmised that the Court's opinion might be an indication that some companies are just too large to sue:
Respondents have not identified a common mode of exercising discretion that pervades the entire company . . . . In a company of Wal-Mart's size and geographical scope, it is quite unbelievable that all managers would exercise their discretion in a common way without some common direction.
Only time will tell how the Wal-Mart v. Dukes decision affects class action litigation on a larger scale, beyond the scope of employee actions.
Consumer News13 Drowning or Near Drowning Incidents in Florida in 2 months July marks the peak of the summer season, a cross-roads at which the endless days of summer are shadowed by the back to school countdown. In the height of the summer fun, Cohen & Kuvin, LLC wants to take a moment to remind families about pool safety. A recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report revealed that 123 drowning or near drowning incidents have been reported since Memorial Day. 13 of these incidents occurred in Florida, a staggering number for a brief two month reporting period.
The CPSC recently launched a national "Pool Safely" Campaign outlining simple life-saving drowning prevention tips. Kathleen Reilly, Pool Safely Campaign Leader best expressed the importance of heeding this message when she stated, "We want to encourage everyone to remember that simple steps save lives. You never know which safety step will save a life...until it does."
An additional concern in Florida are all the foreclosed or abandoned properties that may have unattended dirty pools. If there are abandoned properties in areas where children play, be vigilant to keep them away from those neglected pools which serve as hidden dangers to wandering children. Cohen & Kuvin, LLC encourages everyone to enjoy the water and keep life in the summer fun.
On July 14, 2011, Spencer Kuvin was recognized by the Anti-Defamation League for his service as co-chair of the Glass Leadership Institute.
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