Wal-Mart Settles Sex Discrimination Suit

           DALLAS (CN) – Wal-Mart settled a gender discrimination lawsuit from a former named plaintiff in Betty Dukes’ class action that sought to certify 1.5 million female employees.
     Stephanie Odle, of Lubbock, was an original plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart.
     The U.S. Supreme Court declined to certify a class of current employees in June 2011 due to insufficient commonality between the plaintiffs.
     In March 2010, the 9th Circuit tossed “ former employees ” like Odle because they lacked standing to pursue injunctive relief.
     Odle filed a separate class action four months after the Supreme Court decision, claiming female workers face “gender discrimination as a result of specific policies and practices in Wal-Mart’s regions located in whole or in part in Texas.”
     Odle claimed Wal-Mart fired her from her assistant manager position soon after she was transferred to a Texas store and asked to be considered for future management positions.
     She accused Wal-Mart of denying women equal opportunities for promotion to management-track positions, as well as equal pay for hourly retail positions and salaried management positions.
     Odle agreed to voluntarily dismiss her claims on Friday, according to a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice.
     “Plaintiff Stephanie Odle and Wal-Mart have entered into a settlement agreement to resolve Ms. Odle’s claims,” the filing states.
     Terms of the settlement are confidential, Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said.
     “We’re pleased that we could resolve these claims with our former associates and put this matter behind us,” he said in an email message Monday.
     Odle’s attorneys could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.
     In April 2014, the 5th Circuit reinstated Odle’s individual claims against Wal-Mart. The 5th Circuit reversed U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s dismissal of claims with prejudice, disagreeing with his finding that rejection of class certification in Dukes removed standing for a plaintiff like Odle to pursue injunctive or declaratory relief.
     Ruling Odle’s claim untimely would require the former class members to file “duplicative, needless individual lawsuits before the court could resolve the class certification issue definitively ,” Judge Jacques Wiener Jr. wrote.
     O’Connor had tossed Odle’s class claims as well, concluding they were barred by the statute of limitations.
     He cited the 5th Circuit’s “no piggyback rule,” which bans former class members from filing a subsequent class action if a court has found the suit inappropriate for class action, assuming the statute of limitations has run for the class action claims.
     “Piggybacking” of one class action onto another would result in the indefinite tolling of the statute of limitations, the 5th Circuit has ruled.

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