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2004-05-25
Washington, D.C. Wal-Mart Tries to Get Class Action Lawsuits Off Its Back

A new report from USAction profiles Wal-Mart as a leading lobbyist for new legislation "designed to kill the use of class action lawsuits, which have resulted in decisions that…provide refunds to consumers and others injured by corporate wrongdoing." The legislation would move class action lawsuits out of state courts, where they have been historically more likely to be successful, and into "defendant-friendly federal courts." The reason Wal-Mart is so excited about the legislation? According to legal analysts, "Wal-Mart is sued more often than any American entity except the U.S. government." The USAction report notes that courts in four states have certified class action lawsuits involving over 330,000 Wal-Mart "associates". "By contrast, three federal courts have declined to certify class actions against Wal-Mart for unpaid worker hours." The retailer's effort to stop workers from challenging their abuses has at least one Bush Administrator admirer: Vice President Dick Cheney. In a visit to Wal-Mart's headquarters last month, Cheney described "litigation reform" as the way to cure America's (Wal-Mart's) economic ills.

What you can do: If Wal-Mart is such a swell place to work, how come 44% of its associates quit every year? It is remarkable how many Wal-Mart vests sue the company. There is a major public cost to all this legal time footed by the American taxpayers. The state and federal courts are jammed with Wal-Mart cases, all of which are supported by the state and federal taxpayers. No one has ever tallied up how much court time costs the U.S. taxpayer, but it would buy a lot of cheap underwear if Wal-Mart would meet the needs of its workers at the workplace, rather than in the courtroom.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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