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Entries tagged “Ninth Circuit”

Class Action For 1.5 Million Wal-Mart Employees Affirmed By Ninth Circuit

Insight June 08, 2010

In the recently decided case of Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, the Ninth Circuit upheld a 2004 district court's decision to certify a class that could potentially consist of 1.5 million women employed by Wal-Mart since 1997. Through this gender discrimination class action, the employees seek back pay, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief.

The plaintiffs allege that Wal-Mart engaged in discriminatory pay and promotion practices in violation of Title VII by paying female employees less than their male counterparts and giving fewer promotions to women than to men.

In 2005, after the district court held that class certification was appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, Wal-Mart appealed that decision claiming that the class did not satisfy Rule 23(a)'s class requirements and that the potential size and cost of the claim violated Rule 23(b)(2). While the Ninth Circuit did not comment on the merits of the case, it held that there was no violation of Rule 23 that would prevent the class action. Wal-Mart plans to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit also held that when a district court is determining class status under Rule 23, it must apply a "rigorous analysis." It will be interesting to see whether this standard benefits parties opposing or advocating class certification in the future.

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Ninth Circuit Broadens Definition of “Copyright Registration” for Litigation Purposes

Insight June 02, 2010

In order to initiate an infringement action in federal court, the Copyright Act requires the litigating party to hold a copyright registration. While the circuits are split on what constitutes a copyright registration, the Ninth Circuit recently joined the Fifth and Seventh Circuits in Cosmetic Ideas v. IAC in holding that anapplication for copyright registration suffices for a registration for litigation purposes.

In this case, Cosmetic Ideas developed, manufactured, and sold a unique piece of costume jewelry starting in 1999. Sometime thereafter, another company, HSN, started manufacturing and distributing a "virtually identical" piece of jewelry. Cosmetic applied for copyright registration of its jewelry on March 6, 2008 and received confirmation from the Copyright Office of receipt of the application on March 12. Cosmetic filed its infringement action on March 27, before the Copyright Office had issued a registration certificate for the jewelry (which it subsequently did). Despite that fact, the Ninth Circuit held that the application sufficed for the purposes of initiating an action in court.

This decision by the Ninth Circuit is beneficial to plaintiffs who can now proceed with infringement actions without worrying about their cases being dismissed or impeded for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction if they have not yet been granted a copyright registration from the Copyright Office.

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