Class Action Lawsuit Against Merrill Lynch to Proceed

In late February, federal appeals court allowed a case against Merrill Lynch from a group of 700 African-American stock brokers to go forward as a class action lawsuit. A lower court had ruled earlier that the case should not be treated as a class action suit.

The opinion, which was unanimous from the three-judge panel in the Seventh District Court of Appeals in Chicago, stated that the plaintiffs had sufficient stakes to pursue individual lawsuits against Merrill Lynch, but that keeping the case as a class action suit would decrease its complexity. In the class action suit, the determination of whether or not anti-discrimination statutes were violated only has to happen once. If the cases were handled individually, this would be determined 700 times, and the results could be different for each plaintiff. A Philadelphia personal injury lawyer or employment discrimination lawyer would generally recommend this type of class action lawsuit. See more here.

This decision goes against a precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes. In this earlier case, the Supreme Court denied that a class action lawsuit was appropriate. The reason for this denial was that the discrimination in question was not the fault of Wal-Mart as a corporation, but rather the fault of individual store managers and other staff.

In the Merrill Lynch case, it was corporate actions that were the reason behind the discrimination, not the actions of individual managers. That is why in the second case, the judges ruled a class action lawsuit was appropriate.

This case points out one important fact. Previous cases are not always the exact precedent for the case you are facing. That is why it is so important to work with a skilled, qualified legal team, like a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer at The Pearce Law Firm. Call us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your personal injury or discrimination case with a qualified attorney.