ILNews

Indiana pension fund attorneys to serve as lead co-counsel in Wal-Mart bribery suit

Marilyn Odendahl
September 10, 2012
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The Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund has been named as co-lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the board of directors of retail giant Wal-Mart.

According to attorney Stuart Grant, the Indiana pension fund has not joined the lawsuit but has filed a separate suit against the retailer asking for company books and records regarding the investigation of a bribery scandal.  

Yet, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine made the Indiana union co-lead plaintiff because, in his opinion, the Indiana fund is taking the proper strategy in conducting its own review of company documents rather than relying on media reports.

The other co-lead plaintiffs are the California State Teachers Retirement System and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System.

The lawsuits stem from allegations, reported by The New York Times, that Wal-Mart employees bribed Mexican officials to get building permits which helped the company’s growth in the country.

Grant explained the pension funds are not suing Wal-Mart. The funds want to ensure that any fines or criminal liability be born solely by the directors and not by the company because the board of directors appears to have squashed an investigation into the bribery scandal.

“We’re not trying to hurt Wal-Mart,” Grant said.

The IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) has a good relationship with Wal-Mart, he continued, noting the union members shop at the store, are stockholders and want the company to prosper which will, in turn, benefit them.

The federal government is also investigating the bribery incident to see if Wal-Mart violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.

In addition, the Indiana fund is suing to force Wal-Mart to turn over internal company reports regarding the investigation into the allegations. According to the Indianapolis Star, the attorneys for the electrical workers received 3,474 documents from the retailer but nearly half were redacted. In a twist, an anonymous informant mailed the plaintiff a slew of papers that the Indiana pension fund lawyers say supports the allegations in the Times’ story.

Whether the Indiana pension fund will join the suit against the board depends on what the internal company documents reveal, Grant said. However, he did indicate there is a strong possibility the IBEW will become a party to the lawsuit.  

“Based on what I’ve seen, it’s ugly for these directors,” he said.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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