Court reverses denial of class action in bias suit

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CHICAGO (AP) — A federal appellate court in Chicago has reversed a lower court’s decision denying class-action status to about 700 African-American financial advisers at Merrill Lynch who claim they were discriminated against.

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal appellate court in Chicago has reversed a lower court’s decision denying class-action status to about 700 African-American financial advisers at Merrill Lynch who claim they were discriminated against.

In George McReynolds, et al. versus Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., the plaintiffs allege the brokerage firm engaged in a pattern of discrimination that resulted in African Americans having lower production levels than white men at the company.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman ruled there was not enough evidence to pursue the case. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Friday reversed that decision.

Writing for a three-judge panel, Judge Richard Posner said he had "trouble seeing the downside" of allowing about the brokers pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Merrill Lynch.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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