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(The New York Times)   Billion-dollar, million-plus-client Walmart discrimination suit might go to Supreme Court. With that math, that's about 750 dollars per client, 250 million for the lawyers. Hooray for justice   (nytimes.com) divider line 76
    More: Asinine  
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6675 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Aug 2010 at 1:49 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-08-27 09:46:46 AM
Don't get ahead of yourself subby. If I read it correctly, the actual case has not been heard, nine years after the suit was first brought.

They are still arguing about whether or not the original plaintiffs can sue on behalf of all the million and a half other women who have worked for Walmart.

At this rate, it could be decades before they reach a final decision.

///I wonder what the record is for the longest litigation related to one original suit.
 
2010-08-27 09:48:32 AM
Contingency cases usually pay one third, not one quarter.
 
2010-08-27 09:50:16 AM
Pay to the order of Mrs. Wilbur Stark, one dollar and nine cents!
 
2010-08-27 10:03:03 AM
fredeeky.typepad.com
 
2010-08-27 10:54:23 AM
Well, those clients are free to win this case with their own legal backgrounds.
 
2010-08-27 10:56:46 AM
RussianPooper: Contingency cases usually pay one third, not one quarter.

This, and... think... how much would they likely recover w/o the legal representation?
 
2010-08-27 11:44:25 AM
I'm not seeing the problem here.
 
2010-08-27 11:53:31 AM
Hah, subby thinks this case will eventually get decided. Good luck with that.
 
2010-08-27 01:52:01 PM
Class action lawsuits always benefit the lawyers more than the plaintiffs by several orders of magnitude.
 
2010-08-27 01:54:45 PM
Nabb1 (favorite: Member of the Louisiana Fark Bar Association)

I'm not seeing the problem here.


Of course not. :)
 
2010-08-27 01:55:33 PM
In these cases no one represents the theoretical victims.
 
2010-08-27 01:56:50 PM
clevershark: Class action lawsuits always benefit the lawyers more than the plaintiffs by several orders of magnitude.

THIS. When you get the postcards from lawyers in the mail that say "HEY we think you took Controversial Prescription Drug Du Jour--want to sue?" they are NOT looking out for your best interest.
 
2010-08-27 01:57:58 PM
Whats a matter , didn't hire enough illegals ?

/DRTFA
 
2010-08-27 01:58:33 PM
clevershark: Class action lawsuits always benefit the lawyers more than the plaintiffs by several orders of magnitude.

Unless, of course, they wind up winning better working conditions, which is what they are really suing for in the first place.
 
2010-08-27 01:59:19 PM
You mean the Supreme Court that ruled a woman has a couple of months to file gender pay discrimination after the initial violation, EVEN THOUGH SHE MIGHT NOT FIND OUT ABOUT IT FOR YEARS?

Yeah, I'm sure Walmart is sweating bullets.

/Although now there are three hot ladies on the court plus a gay dude
/Maybe Walmart should be worried.
 
2010-08-27 01:59:57 PM
notmtwain: Don't get ahead of yourself subby. If I read it correctly, the actual case has not been heard, nine years after the suit was first brought.

They are still arguing about whether or not the original plaintiffs can sue on behalf of all the million and a half other women who have worked for Walmart.

At this rate, it could be decades before they reach a final decision.

///I wonder what the record is for the longest litigation related to one original suit.


I believe Exxon would take that one for their Valdez spill; if not them, they would be up there.

This is the same entity(Wal-Mart) that is no stranger to dirty pool in the legal arena. I would not be surprised if Wal-Mart is just trying to bleed the other party dry to kill the lawsuit.
 
2010-08-27 02:00:46 PM
The_Six_Fingered_Man: Nabb1 (favorite: Member of the Louisiana Fark Bar Association)

I'm not seeing the problem here.

Of course not. :)


Being an attorney gives you some perspective about these things. Like the idea of having enough resources to cover vexatious litigation tactics taken by parties that have the resources of a mid-sized nation.
 
2010-08-27 02:02:37 PM
I've been discriminated against at Wal-Mart, but it was only one location (well, two, but everything in Pecos is screwed up so I'll let that one slide).

After Hurricane Ike I went to one for obvious post hurricane reasons. The McDonalds was open, and I was hungry enough to eat McDonalds, my buddy and I stopped to grab food, someone told us we had to take it to go. There were several Mexicans sitting in the restaurant area, that obviously didn't work there, so we did it too. A Wal-Mart employee (not McDonalds) made us leave, also Mexican, ignoring the Mexicans coming and going from the seating area at will. There were several other incidents that happened at this particular location that day that were obviously race based, and every employee there was Mexican. My buddy and I call that "the racist Wal-Mart". I haven't been back. Considering I avoid Wal-Mart in general, and we went to that particular one because it happened to have electricity at the time when few other places were open, avoiding that one in particular hasn't been all that difficult.
 
2010-08-27 02:03:23 PM
You know a good way to prevent big class-action lawsuits that put money in trial lawyers pockets? Stronger business regulation.
 
2010-08-27 02:03:53 PM
TheShavingofOccam123: Although now there are three hot ladies on the court plus a gay dude

Now I'm no Studman69, but...
 
2010-08-27 02:05:52 PM
RussianPooper: Contingency cases usually pay one third, not one quarter.

and lets take a quick gander at the economics of the thing shall we?

$250 million seemslike whole lot of money until you consider what it costs to make that money and how long it will take. On a Cklass action suit this size:

First you have to round up the palintiffs, get thier stoires down on paper sand find enough commonaility between the Plaintiffs that the case should even BE a class action lawsuit instead of a million individual suits (what they are doing right now and for the last decade.)

Then comes discovery, somethign Wal-Mart is absolutely infamous for playing games with to the point of legal sanctions. It's not inconceiveable that a case like this could involve 20-30 MILLION documents (pay records, memos, emails, depositions etc) or more.

Knowing Walmart those document will be delivered only after a protracted legal fight and then they will be shipped as unsorted paper in doc boxs rather than on CD (or if it is electronic they'll scan them as images to frustrate keyword searches)

Now after you ramp up enough of an IT dept to get all that info scanned, sorted and onto a CD, it now has to all be READ, by lawyers (usually $50/hr temps from Hire counsel or a similar body shop), digested, Bates numbered, and summarized so that a further team of litigation lawyers can comb through it all to find the exhibits they'll need at trial. Then you have to do trial prep, surivive Motions to dismiss, fight over depositions etc, so its like 5 more years till you actually get to trial. The trial could take a year and then there's potentially a decade of appeals after that before you finally see a dime. And that's only IF you win.


So in other words those lawyers will likely spend $50 million + on a risky investment that won't pay off for at least 25 years. Sink that same amount of cash into a mutual fund or bank account and I'd bet you'd get a better ROI with compound itnerest over that same time
 
2010-08-27 02:06:11 PM
"Stephanie, that assistant manager has a family and two children to support."

So... this is bias against... women? Or is this the same thing I've seen repeatedly (married folks with kids getting preferential treatment)? I hope they lose.
 
2010-08-27 02:06:16 PM
Dancin_In_Anson: Pay to the order of Mrs. Wilbur Stark, one dollar and nine cents!

Hey, in 10 years, that might be worth .37!!
 
2010-08-27 02:08:03 PM
That came after Ms. Odle discovered that a male assistant manager at a previous Sam's Club where she worked had been earning $23,000 more a year than she was. When she complained, she said, the district manager responded, "Stephanie, that assistant manager has a family and two children to support."

An oldie but a baddie

Ranks down there with:

"The check's in the mail"
"My Wife doesn't understand me"
"The dog ate my homework".
 
2010-08-27 02:08:37 PM
plewis: clevershark: Class action lawsuits always benefit the lawyers more than the plaintiffs by several orders of magnitude.

Unless, of course, they wind up winning better working conditions, which is what they are really suing for in the first place.


Bentonville would scuttle themselves before that ever happens. Then play the "not profitable" card.


ULTRON 5: Whats a matter , didn't hire enough illegals ?

I would not be surprised to see Wal-Mart turn a blind eye to illegals (as they have done before). It does two thing that Bentonville likes: cheap slave labor in a plentiful supply and combats unions out of self-preservation.
 
2010-08-27 02:13:13 PM
Solon Isonomia: The_Six_Fingered_Man: Nabb1 (favorite: Member of the Louisiana Fark Bar Association)

I'm not seeing the problem here.

Of course not. :)

Being an attorney gives you some perspective about these things. Like the idea of having enough resources to cover vexatious litigation tactics taken by parties that have the resources of a mid-sized nation.


Maybe - but that's cart before the horse time. You "need' the 250 million - to have the resources to take on a dirty-dealing company like walmart who will stretch your case out for years - so you can get your client 600 dollars.

Without the client, you would not need the lawsuit - or the resources - the lawsuit is not for your interest, but for theirs.
 
2010-08-27 02:13:40 PM
This sounds sketchy. The two concerns are that women were paid less than men with the same job and that there were fewer women in managerial positions than their should have been. If you're paying women less, you want to make more of them managers so you can pay your managers less and save more money.
 
2010-08-27 02:14:03 PM
In the middle days of the internet I was a member of a pay dating site. I never managed to meet any of the women I emailed; most of them never wrote back. I thought maybe I just wasn't attractive, but it came out a couple of years later that most of the female profiles were created by the people running the site and loaded with pictures they swiped off random corners of the internet.

I spent $15/month for three months on that site before giving up. The class action suit awarded me with a free month of membership to a worthless and defunct dating site, while awarding the lawyers $20,000. I wrote a letter to contest, but I never found out if anyone even read it.

Class action suits are bullshiat in this country. The actual victims get nothing in most cases. It's just a vehicle for ambulance chasers to cash in on.
 
2010-08-27 02:14:15 PM
Solon Isonomia: The_Six_Fingered_Man: Nabb1 (favorite: Member of the Louisiana Fark Bar Association)

I'm not seeing the problem here.

Of course not. :)

Being an attorney gives you some perspective about these things. Like the idea of having enough resources to cover vexatious litigation tactics taken by parties that have the resources of a mid-sized nation.


I just call it dirty pool. Vexatious litigation tactics would be more accurate, but hard to explain.


alt-explode: You know a good way to prevent big class-action lawsuits that put money in trial lawyers pockets? Stronger business regulation.

...and no way to get around them.
 
2010-08-27 02:14:22 PM
Dukes v. Wal-Mart

Was Wal-Mart requiring women to wear Daisy Duke shorts?

Meanwhile, on the sidebar:
graphics8.nytimes.com

Can You be Frugal and Sexy?
If women stare at your peener, it really doesn't matter.
 
2010-08-27 02:15:29 PM
clevershark: Class action lawsuits always benefit the lawyers more than the plaintiffs by several orders of magnitude.

it also smashes the company itself alot more than a ton of tiny squashed lawsuits... more of a hammer than a billion pricks...
 
2010-08-27 02:16:04 PM
the district manager responded, "Stephanie, that assistant manager has a family and two children to support."

So how many children is that in total?
 
2010-08-27 02:18:06 PM
Magorn: RussianPooper: Contingency cases usually pay one third, not one quarter.

and lets take a quick gander at the economics of the thing shall we?

(lots of expensive work lawyers like to charge expensively for)

So in other words those lawyers will likely spend $50 million + on a risky investment that won't pay off for at least 25 years. Sink that same amount of cash into a mutual fund or bank account and I'd bet you'd get a better ROI with compound itnerest over that same time


Or, the seven original plaintiffs could just settle up front with Walmart for 600 dollars - if that's all they wanted - and wouldn't have to pay you a single dime. And you could sink all that money into any mutual fund you like.
 
2010-08-27 02:18:49 PM
or you could boycott the damn place
 
2010-08-27 02:19:18 PM
I don't understand the notion of systematic discrimination in wages against women. This doesn't make sense. It's a free market economy. Every company wants all of its employees to work for as little money as they are willing to work for. They want the men to work for minimum wage, and they want the women to work for minimum wage. If a company doesn't pay you what you're worth, work somewhere else, or go on welfare. All this tells me is that women are willing to take crappy wages, whereas men get more demanding about it.
 
2010-08-27 02:20:26 PM
plewis: clevershark: Class action lawsuits always benefit the lawyers more than the plaintiffs by several orders of magnitude.

Unless, of course, they wind up winning better working conditions, which is what they are really suing for in the first place.


But they work at Wal*Mart
 
2010-08-27 02:21:31 PM
Nabb1: I'm not seeing the problem here.


dancininanson.net

Yeah but you're nuthin' but a
 
2010-08-27 02:24:50 PM
Lawyers representing the plaintiffs recruited Ms. Odle after obtaining a data showing that just a third of Wal-Mart's managers were women even though two-thirds of its employees were. The lawyers wanted to enlist a Wal-Mart employee whose complaints about pay and promotions would be a base from which to build a broader sex discrimination case.

This is the problem I have with it. You have one woman with what is probably a legitimate case being used. Her case is a molehill considering the size of Walmart. Then you have the circling sharks looking for fresh blood to turn it into a class action. I have to side with walmart on this one.

Class action lawyers are a pure drain on business and the economy in general. They do not serve the greater good in any way. Leeches on the butt of society!
 
2010-08-27 02:26:14 PM
Here in Washington last year, Wal-Mart settled its case for labor law violations. Basically what it came down to was they were asking employees to work off the clock, work during lunch, skip breaks, etc.

Since I and my girlfriend both had worked there, we got these packets in the mail that asked a bunch of questions. We noticed that one of the line-items was "lock-in/lock-out", described as being when your shift is over, you aren't able to leave the store because the doors are locked, and you have to wait for someone to let you out. It mentioned you would receive up to $2 per instance that it occurred. Well, we were always there during close and so we calculated how many times (not minutes, just individual instances) we estimated it happened, and turned the info in, not expecting much, if anything. This was last August.

So, flash forward to about a week ago, we suddenly get these checks mailed to each of us - for nearly $1,700 each! Turns out they were forced to compensate each "lock-in" (probably totalling $400), and then pay an additional $1,250 "penalty" to each person. Best part, besides being free money, is that the $1,250 is considered non-taxable.

/csb
 
2010-08-27 02:27:33 PM
That's "Justice™"
 
2010-08-27 02:28:18 PM
The Mad Fapper: Here in Washington last year, Wal-Mart settled its case for labor law violations. Basically what it came down to was they were asking employees to work off the clock, work during lunch, skip breaks, etc.

Since I and my girlfriend both had worked there, we got these packets in the mail that asked a bunch of questions. We noticed that one of the line-items was "lock-in/lock-out", described as being when your shift is over, you aren't able to leave the store because the doors are locked, and you have to wait for someone to let you out. It mentioned you would receive up to $2 per instance that it occurred. Well, we were always there during close and so we calculated how many times (not minutes, just individual instances) we estimated it happened, and turned the info in, not expecting much, if anything. This was last August.

So, flash forward to about a week ago, we suddenly get these checks mailed to each of us - for nearly $1,700 each! Turns out they were forced to compensate each "lock-in" (probably totalling $400), and then pay an additional $1,250 "penalty" to each person. Best part, besides being free money, is that the $1,250 is considered non-taxable.

/csb


Just out of curiosity, how long were those lock-ins on average?
 
2010-08-27 02:28:35 PM
Tommy Moo: I don't understand the notion of systematic discrimination in wages against women. This doesn't make sense. It's a free market economy. Every company wants all of its employees to work for as little money as they are willing to work for. They want the men to work for minimum wage, and they want the women to work for minimum wage. If a company doesn't pay you what you're worth, work somewhere else, or go on welfare. All this tells me is that women are willing to take crappy wages, whereas men get more demanding about it.

What happens there is economically-derived reverse discrimination. More women get hired for lesser-paid roles. If the men complain, they get the traditional sexist label, the anti-discrimination laws somehow dont apply to them, or the laws that might apply to those men get removed. How about just making it harder for them (if not impossible) to do that?

ultraholland: or you could boycott the damn place

Then their PR team is called in, and you get demonized.
 
2010-08-27 02:35:09 PM
Grass Hopper: Magorn: RussianPooper: Contingency cases usually pay one third, not one quarter.

and lets take a quick gander at the economics of the thing shall we?

(lots of expensive work lawyers like to charge expensively for)

So in other words those lawyers will likely spend $50 million + on a risky investment that won't pay off for at least 25 years. Sink that same amount of cash into a mutual fund or bank account and I'd bet you'd get a better ROI with compound itnerest over that same time

Or, the seven original plaintiffs could just settle up front with Walmart for 600 dollars - if that's all they wanted - and wouldn't have to pay you a single dime. And you could sink all that money into any mutual fund you like.


And a very large corporation gets away with an Illegal action that screws over another 999,993 other women, without any consequences. The main purpose of a CA suit is to vindicate a priciple/and or prevent future bad actions by the wrong doer.

EG the lawsuit against the major music labels for price fixing on recorded CDs. Yes each memeber of the class (which was everyone who bought a CD over ten years) may have only gotten $20 in damages but the lawyers also go t the company to agree to take specific and conrete steps to insure that they could't do that anymore.

As a result the price of the average CD dropped by about 1/3 over the next year has been getting lower ever since.
 
2010-08-27 02:39:44 PM
The Mad Fapper: Here in Washington last year, Wal-Mart settled its case for labor law violations. Basically what it came down to was they were asking employees to work off the clock, work during lunch, skip breaks, etc.

Since I and my girlfriend both had worked there, we got these packets in the mail that asked a bunch of questions. We noticed that one of the line-items was "lock-in/lock-out", described as being when your shift is over, you aren't able to leave the store because the doors are locked, and you have to wait for someone to let you out. It mentioned you would receive up to $2 per instance that it occurred. Well, we were always there during close and so we calculated how many times (not minutes, just individual instances) we estimated it happened, and turned the info in, not expecting much, if anything. This was last August.

So, flash forward to about a week ago, we suddenly get these checks mailed to each of us - for nearly $1,700 each! Turns out they were forced to compensate each "lock-in" (probably totalling $400), and then pay an additional $1,250 "penalty" to each person. Best part, besides being free money, is that the $1,250 is considered non-taxable.

/csb


While that is a cool starry bra, that "penalty" money is punitive damages, and therefore taxable income, as it did not arise from a personal physical injury case.

"Damages received for personal nonphysical injuries, such as employment discrimination or injury to reputation, are generally taxable."
 
2010-08-27 02:40:04 PM
borg7of9: The Mad Fapper: Here in Washington last year, Wal-Mart settled its case for labor law violations. Basically what it came down to was they were asking employees to work off the clock, work during lunch, skip breaks, etc.

Since I and my girlfriend both had worked there, we got these packets in the mail that asked a bunch of questions. We noticed that one of the line-items was "lock-in/lock-out", described as being when your shift is over, you aren't able to leave the store because the doors are locked, and you have to wait for someone to let you out. It mentioned you would receive up to $2 per instance that it occurred. Well, we were always there during close and so we calculated how many times (not minutes, just individual instances) we estimated it happened, and turned the info in, not expecting much, if anything. This was last August.

So, flash forward to about a week ago, we suddenly get these checks mailed to each of us - for nearly $1,700 each! Turns out they were forced to compensate each "lock-in" (probably totalling $400), and then pay an additional $1,250 "penalty" to each person. Best part, besides being free money, is that the $1,250 is considered non-taxable.

/csb

Just out of curiosity, how long were those lock-ins on average?


Honestly they had a pretty variable time frame - it was typically based on manager.

I'd have to say it was usually between 5 and 15 minutes each time. Never was it less than 3-4 minutes, though, and I don't recall it being more than 20 minutes.
 
2010-08-27 02:40:07 PM
Tommy Moo: I don't understand the notion of systematic discrimination in wages against women. This doesn't make sense. It's a free market economy. Every company wants all of its employees to work for as little money as they are willing to work for. They want the men to work for minimum wage, and they want the women to work for minimum wage. If a company doesn't pay you what you're worth, work somewhere else, or go on welfare. All this tells me is that women are willing to take crappy wages, whereas men get more demanding about it.

It's easy to discriminate.
1) Most people don't know how much their co-workers are making so they don't know when they are being cheated.

2) Employers do lots of things that don't make sense. Not all bad decisions or mistakes result in them going out of business. Companies can limp along for a long time doing stupid, discriminatory things.

Oh, I get it. You were probably thinking that the free market was perfectly self-correcting like how it fixed racial discrimination without resorting to the civil rights act of 1964.
 
2010-08-27 02:44:57 PM
sammyk: Lawyers representing the plaintiffs recruited Ms. Odle after obtaining a data showing that just a third of Wal-Mart's managers were women even though two-thirds of its employees were. The lawyers wanted to enlist a Wal-Mart employee whose complaints about pay and promotions would be a base from which to build a broader sex discrimination case.

This is the problem I have with it. You have one woman with what is probably a legitimate case being used. Her case is a molehill considering the size of Walmart. Then you have the circling sharks looking for fresh blood to turn it into a class action. I have to side with walmart on this one.

Class action lawyers are a pure drain on business and the economy in general. They do not serve the greater good in any way. Leeches on the butt of society!


True and false. In europe, shareholder alwsuits and Class action suits are very difficult to bring against a company and even harder to win. However in exchange for that protection companies have to submit to extremely strict government regulation of how they conduct their business (down to how they hire and fire..no such thing as a "right to work" country in Europe)

In America corporation operate under extremely lax regulations (especially since the corporations are chartered by individual states who are all in a "race to the bottom" to attract corporations by relaxing the rules) so, in the US lawsuits are the primary form of effective corproate regulation. Businesses undersand this and budget for it, but it still doesn't stop them from whining about all the horribly unfair lawsuits that are filed against poor , pitiful, them.


OTOH for some lawyers Class action suits have become an industry and a way of life and they go looking for things to sue over, and they, frankly should be taken out and shot and/or disbarrred
 
2010-08-27 02:45:29 PM
Magorn: Grass Hopper: Magorn: RussianPooper:
And a very large corporation gets away with an Illegal action that screws over another 999,993 other women, without any consequences. The main purpose of a CA suit is to vindicate a priciple/and or prevent future bad actions by the wrong doer.

EG the lawsuit against the major music labels for price fixing on recorded CDs. Yes each memeber of the class (which was everyone who bought a CD over ten years) may have only gotten $20 in damages but the lawyers also go t the company to agree to take specific and conrete steps to insure that they could't do that anymore.

As a result the price of the average CD dropped by about 1/3 over the next year has been getting lower ever since.


The price of the average CD has been getting lower because everyone downloads. Meh.

I see. So this is all to help all those poor walmart employees. I should have known. And the fact that the company will likely make (according to your math) over 200 million in profit from this is not in any way a concern.

So, if they could get their 50 million (spent over 25 year) back, plus say 20 percent as a reasonable profit margin, so call it 10 million in profit - they would jump at the chance, right? Because it's all about those poor wallmart workers.
 
2010-08-27 02:48:54 PM
Magorn: now has to all be READ, by lawyers (usually $50/hr temps from Hire counsel or a similar body shop), digested, Bates numbered, and summarized

This part sounds like fun, and pays a heck of a lot better than my data-groping job. I'm guessing I need to have some kind of law-type knowledge to do so though, huh.
 
2010-08-27 02:54:47 PM
Longest lawsuit... hmmm Kearns v. Ford was like 22 years. Thats gotta beat Exxon which I thought was settled in 08.
 
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