Wal-Mart Gets Off Again

A Texas judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) that accused the retailer of discriminating against female workers in pay and promotions in outlets across the state. The suit attempted to include all female hourly and salaried workers, except store managers.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor dismissed the complaint Monday after ruling that the plaintiffs did not file the suit within the appropriate time constraints. The Texas suit, filed last year, follows a similar nationwide class action, which the U.S. Supreme Court rejected. As the New York Times reported, in that case, an employment discrimination class-action suit, plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart’s “policies and practices had led to countless discriminatory decisions over pay and promotions.” The lawsuit was thrown out by the court in June 2011 because the “plaintiffs’ lawyers had improperly sued under a part of the class-action rules.”

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According to Bloomberg, O’Connor ruled that the plaintiffs’ claims, “are barred by the statute of limitations, and should be dismissed.”  He added, “The class of former employees neither moved to stay the mandate, nor appealed this issue to the Supreme Court.”

Furthermore, the judge dismissed the suit brought by the lead plaintiff, Stephanie Odle, because she had been dismissed from the nationwide case in 2011.

Rules in the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, to which O’Connor’s court is subject, restrict “the tolling to subsequent individual lawsuits and not further class actions,” the judge said in his decision. However, the plaintiffs will be appealing O’Connor’s ruling.

Wal-Mart is currently involved in four regional lawsuits, all filed after the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision. One suit is pending in California, and complaints were filed in Florida and Tennessee this month.

“We are pleased that the district court has dismissed the class action claims, recognizing the individuals must pursue their own claims,” Theodore Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Wal-Mart, told Bloomberg.

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