WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Wal-Mart's challenge to a class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination against female employees.

The court agreed on Monday to review a lower court ruling that allowed the suit to proceed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted class certification in April with a 6-5 vote.

The plaintiffs in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., are seeking backpay, claiming they were never promoted because of their gender and that they were paid significantly less than their male counterparts. The suit, originally filed in 2001, could amount to billions in claims.

Meanwhile, the retail giant argues the lower court ruling was an "unprecedented expansion of class actions."

Theodore Boutrous, the attorney representing Wal-Mart, has called the suit "extremely adventuresome."

The Court will likely hear arguments in the spring, with a decision expected by July, the Wall Street Journal reported.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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