University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Kassman v. KPMG LLP EE-NY-0271
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-03743-LGS ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Case Summary
On June 2, 2011, a female former manager filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against KPMG LLP, a large accounting and professional services firm. The plaintiff asserted claims of gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil ... read more >
On June 2, 2011, a female former manager filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against KPMG LLP, a large accounting and professional services firm. The plaintiff asserted claims of gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and state and local laws. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought permanent injunctive relief and damages for employment discrimination on the basis of gender.

In September 2011 and in May 2016, the plaintiff joined claims with several other former and current female employees at KPMG. The plaintiffs ultimately requested class certification for: "all female exempt Client Service and Support Professionals, including but not limited to Associates, Senior Associates, Managers, Senior Managers/Directors and Managing Directors (collectively “Professionals”), who are, or have been, employed by KPMG nationwide during the applicable liability period until the date of judgment." The plaintiffs also brought analogous claims under New York City and New York state laws and sought to certify a New York subclass.

The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant engaged in a pattern and practice of gender discrimination stemming from policies that lacked transparency and fairness. In total, the complaint alleged nineteen counts of employment discrimination on behalf of different combinations of named and putative class plaintiffs.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged the following on behalf of the nationwide class:
1. pay discrimination, promotion discrimination, and pregnancy and caregiving discrimination in violation of Title VII;
2. denial of equal pay for equal work under the Equal Pay Act.
The plaintiffs alleged the following on behalf of the New York subclass:
1. pay discrimination, promotion discrimination, and pregnancy and caregiving discrimination in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law;
2. denial of equal pay for equal work under the New York State Equal Pay Acts.
Finally, the named plaintiffs pursued individual claims for: retaliation in violation of Title VII and New York City and New York state laws; pregnancy discrimination in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act; and race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1981.

On February 7, 2013, the Court (Judge Jesse M. Furman) granted the defendant’s motion to strike class claims under New York State and New York City laws that were brought on behalf of plaintiffs who neither worked nor lived in the relevant jurisdictions. The Court also dismissed some individual counts of discrimination. The Court denied the defendant’s motion with respect to all other counts. 925 F. Supp. 2d 453.

The case was reassigned in March 2013. On July 8, 2014, the Court (Judge Lorna G. Schofield) granted the plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification of the class. 2014 WL 3298884. On September 4, 2015, the Court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. (Under the principle of equitable tolling, the court has discretion to suspend the statute of limitations period in certain situations to prevent an inequitable outcome.) The Court adjusted the limitations period to cover all claims from March 2009-March 2012 and to cover all class action plaintiffs who had opted in by April 2015. 2015 WL 5178400. The Equal Pay Act claims consisted of 1,112 opt-in plaintiffs.

However, on November 30, 2018, the Court held that the plaintiffs could not meet the requirements for class certification in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011), which made it extremely difficult for a gender discrimination suit to proceed as a class action where the discriminatory treatment was the product of local supervisors exercising their discretion in awarding pay and promotions. The Court found that the plaintiffs could not show a common mode of decision-making by supervisors that would warrant class certification with respect to the Title VII claims and that the plaintiffs had not shown that members of the opt-in class for the Equal Pay Act claims worked for a “single establishment” and were all “similarly situated.” The Court also denied class certification for the New York subclass. 2018 WL 6264853.

The plaintiffs appealed the District Court’s decision to deny class certification, but on March 19, 2019, the Circuit Court (Judges Rosemary Pooler, Denny Chin, and Richard Eaton) denied the appeal, holding that immediate appeal was not warranted. The Circuit Court also granted a motion allowing non-parties to file an amicus brief. As of April 2019, the case is ongoing.

Christianna Kyriacou - 11/21/2013
Sara Stearns - 04/17/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Pregnancy discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
State law
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) KPMG LLC
Plaintiff Description Female employees and former employees of KMPG LLP.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2011
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:11-cv-03743-LGS (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0271-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1] (2011 WL 2150674)
EE-NY-0271-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/02/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 35]
EE-NY-0271-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/06/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (Granting in part and Denying in part 36 Motion to Dismiss) [ECF# 69] (925 F.Supp.2d 453) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0271-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/07/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Equitable Tolling of the Statute of Limitations for Absent Collective Action Members' Claims under the Equal Pay Act [ECF# 87]
EE-NY-0271-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Directing Clerk of Court to Close Motion No. 87) [ECF# 99] (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0271-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/20/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 175] (2014 WL 3298884) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0271-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/08/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 413] (2015 WL 5178400) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0271-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/04/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Amended Complaint [ECF# 548]
EE-NY-0271-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 831] (2018 WL 6264835) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0271-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Furman, Jesse Matthew (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0003
Schofield, Lorna Gail (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0005 | EE-NY-0271-0006 | EE-NY-0271-0007 | EE-NY-0271-0009 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bains, Deepika (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0001 | EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Heisler, Jeremy (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0001 | EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Kimpel, Katherine M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-0004 | EE-NY-0271-0008 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Lamm, Katherine E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Mueting, Katie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Nurhussein, Siham (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0001 | EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Sanford, David W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Wipper, Janette L. (California) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0001 | EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Wittels, Steven Lance (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-0001 | EE-NY-0271-0002 | EE-NY-0271-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Aranyos, Stephanie Lauren (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Hughes, Peter O. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Kenney, Colleen M. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Lazerson, Wendy M. (California) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Levi, John G. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Moore, Steven Woodrow (Colorado) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Saunders, Diane Marjorie (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000
Stanton, Cheryl Marie (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0271-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -