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24 Feb 2012

Chicago Tribune

Black brokers at Merrill Lynch get go-ahead for class action

Black brokers who accused Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit of bias can pursue their lawsuit in a class action, a federal appeals court said, reversing a lower-court ruling. The decision…came eight months after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case involving Wal-Mart Stores Inc, made it significantly harder to pursue class-action cases. Writing for a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit, Judge Richard Posner said that "we have trouble seeing the downside" of letting roughly 700 current and former brokers collectively sue Merrill over alleged discrimination that kept their pay down and impeded their career growth…While recognizing that individual managers' discretion played a big role in career development -- a key reason the Wal-Mart class was struck down -- Posner said common issues made it more efficient to handle the brokers' cases as a group.

Part of the following timelines

US appeals court allows racial discrimination lawsuit against Merrill Lynch to proceed as a class action

Walmart lawsuit (re gender discrimination in USA)