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Stockwell v. City & County of San Francisco: What It Doesn't Say About Statistics

July 02, 2014

By KENNETH W. GAGE & MICHAEL DUMOND, PH.D.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a district court's denial of class certification in a disparate impact age discrimination case, Stockwell v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 12-15070, 122 FEP Cases 795, 2014 BL 113930 (9th Cir. 2014) (80 DLR AA-1, 4/25/14), finding that the district court waded too far into the merits of the case on the class certification motion. Commentators on both sides have suggested that the decision may make it easier for plaintiffs to litigate workplace class actions, easier than many thought would be the case after Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 112 FEP Cases 769 (2011) (118 DLR AA-1, 6/20/11).

That may or may not ultimately prove to be true, but there is another dimension to this debate that cannot be ignored.

Reproduced with permission from Daily Labor Report, 127 DLR I-1, 07/02/2014. Copyright  2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

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Image: Kenneth W Gage
Kenneth W Gage
Partner, Employment Law Department