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LOS ANGELES � Wal-Mart Stores Inc. filed a petition for an en banc rehearing this week before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its battle to overturn the certification of about 1.5 million women alleging sexual discrimination in the largest employment class in U.S. history. Dukes v. Wal-Mart, No. 04-16688 (9th Cir.). Wal-Mart lost an appeal before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit last month seeking to overthrow certification of a class of current and former female employees who accuse the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer of systematically discriminating against them in pay and promotions. The case seeks billions of dollars in damages. In an emailed statement, Ted Boutrous, a partner at Los Angeles-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who represents Wal-Mart, said: “The panel’s latest ruling creates even more conflicts with decisions of the Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts on many fundamental issues of class action and employment law, with implications for every company in America.” A federal judge in San Francisco initially certificated the nationwide class in 2004. In its new petition, Wal-Mart argues that such a “gargantuan” case violates the U.S. Constitution and Title VII. “The case squarely presents numerous issues with sweeping ramifications for class action and employment law that the majority either got wrong or failed to address,” Wal-Mart wrote in its petition. “The unprecedented and historic certification decision warrants en banc review.”

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