The U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team can’t appeal a loss on sex-based pay-discrimination claims while other claims in their case are still ongoing, a Los Angeles federal court ruled Tuesday.
Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and over 20 other members of the Women’s National Team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for paying them less than the Men’s National Team despite their greater international success. The court dismissed the women’s pay-discrimination claims in May based on evidence that the women were actually paid more per game than the men. It allowed the women’s claims that U.S. Soccer subjected them to inferior working conditions to continue.
The women asked the court to enter a final judgment on the pay-discrimination claims so they could appeal the ruling immediately. The court denied the request.
The court said there was a “real possibility” that the case could result in two successive appeals, and that if the women wanted to appeal the upcoming working-conditions ruling, it would be more efficient for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to hear both appeals “as a single unit.”
In addition, the court said that denying the motion won’t hinder efforts to settle the case. The women argued they couldn’t settle without a final resolution of the pay-discrimination claims at the “core” of their case, but the court said an appeal wouldn’t be resolved before the other claims go to trial in less than three months. There is “nothing stopping the parties from settling their remaining claims tomorrow” and “proceeding to appeal immediately thereafter,” the court said.
The “risk that successive appeals will turn on interrelated facts” also weighed against granting the women’s request. Evidence from their pay-discrimination claims may be relevant to the success of the working-conditions claims, the court said.
Judge R. Gary Klausner wrote the order.
Winston & Strawn LLP represents the women. Latham & Watkins LLP represents the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The case is Morgan v. U.S. Soccer Fed’n, C.D. Cal., No. 2:19-cv-01717, 6/23/20.