Lawyers for the Wal-Mart plaintiffs, whose massive class-action lawsuit was shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court as being too big and unfocused, are back in court today (July 29, 2011) to argue for a revival of the sex-bias complaint but on a narrower basis and with multiple lawsuits. The attorneys hope to file one class-action lawsuit in California and then move on to other states to replicate that action.

"There was this sense after the Supreme Court decision that the case was dead, and we dispute that," said Joseph Sellers, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs and a partner at the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll in Washington. "We think the decision leaves open the possibility of bringing more narrowly tailored class actions."

Sellers' firm has so far invested $7 million in the lawsuit with nothing to show for it.

The Supreme Court decision was not based on the merits of the case, but rather on whether a lawsuit representing up to 1.6 million employees at 3,400 stores could be considered a justified class action. Ultimately, the court said the plaintiffs had failed to show the "glue" that connected a class of that size and that diversity.

For its part, Wal-Mart attorneys are in court today as well to argue that, subsequent to the SCOTUS decision, the only lawsuits that can be filed are individual ones, not collective ones.

There may be some precedent to the Wal-Mart position. Only July 18, a Michigan state court cited the SCOTUS decision when it decertified a class of just more than 3,000 property owners suing Dow Chemical Co.

The case is Betty Dukes et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.