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FILE - In this March 17, 2010 file photo, a worker gathers shopping carts near a Wal-Mart store in Washington Township, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a massive sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart on behalf of female employees in a decision that makes it harder to mount large-scale bias claims against the nation’s biggest companies.

The justices all agreed that the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot proceed as a class action in its current form, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. But they split 5-4 along ideological lines over whether the plaintiffs should in essence get another chance to make their case.

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