by Michael Fox
Well perhaps not 101, but since cases that are determined solely on the results of the statistical analysis don't come along all that often, you can be sure all the number crunchers will be carefully reading the decision in Carpenter v. The Boeing Co. (10th Cir. 8/7/06) [pdf].
After certifying a class of women who claimed that Boeing's practice of allowing supervisor's discretion in selecting employees for overtime disparately impacted women, the district court granted summary judgment to Boeing. On appeal, the 10th Circuit agreed. While the study of the plaintiffs' expert did establish statistically significant differences in the amount of overtime received by men and women, it failed because it did not include all the factors that would determine who was eligible for overtime. Without an adequate comparison, the statistics were ultimately meaningless.
A good reminder if you are in a statistical battle.