Business News

Court Grants Final Approval of $33 Million Gender Class Action Settlement With Smith Barney


Mehri & Skalet, PLLC

2008-08-13 13:24:00

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(EMWNews – August 13, 2008) – Professional women across America won a

major employment victory today when a federal court ruled that they had

been discriminated against by the investment house that employed them, and

awarded the women groundbreaking financial compensation in a sweeping


Today, a federal court granted final approval of a settlement of over $33

million with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. d/b/a Smith Barney, on behalf

of all women employed as Financial Advisors in (i) the United States

branches of Smith Barney’s retail brokerage division at any time from

August 24, 2003 through March 1, 2008 or (ii) the California branches of

Smith Barney’s retail brokerage division at any time from June 25, 2003

through March 1, 2008. Plaintiffs alleged that Smith Barney discriminated

against female Financial Advisors in compensation and business


The parties entered into a four-year settlement agreement that received

preliminary Court approval on April 30, 2008. It includes comprehensive

injunctive relief regarding compensation, account distribution policies,

partnership arrangements, branch manager promotions, retention, diversity

training, and complaint processing, among other things. The settlement

calls for the appointment of an independent Diversity Monitor and an

independent Industrial Psychologist to effectuate the terms of the


In addition, the settlement establishes a class monetary fund of $33

million, plus interest as of December 15, 2007. A Claims Administrator is

expected to determine the allocation of monies among class members. Over

1,285 class members filed claim forms. No class members objected to the


“As a woman who is committed to a career in the financial services

industry, I am proud to see the changes this settlement has created for

other women at the company,” said Renee Fassbender-Amochaev, one of the

lead plaintiffs.

Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, Co-Lead Counsel for the class,

explained, “We are delighted that over fifty percent of the class members

filed claim forms for monetary relief so far.”

“This settlement not only provides serious monetary benefits for all class

members, but also real, institutional improvements for female brokers at

the company,” said Kelly M. Dermody, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann &

Bernstein, LLP and Co-Lead Class Counsel.

Adam Klein of Outten & Golden, LLP stated, “We are pleased that the Court

approved the settlement.”

The settlement was the result of intensive negotiations supervised by

experienced neutral mediator Hunter Hughes, Esq., of Atlanta, Georgia.

The law firms representing plaintiffs are Lieff Cabraser Heimann &

Bernstein, LLP, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, Outten & Golden, LLP, and Altshuler

Berzon, LLP.

Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel:

Kelly M. Dermody

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

(415) 956-1000

Cyrus Mehri

Mehri & Skalet, PLLC

(202) 822-5100

Adam T. Klein

Outten & Golden, LLP

(212) 245-1000

Eric Hauser
The Hauser Group

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