Judgments

Judge Adds $49M in Atty Fees to Wal-Mart OT Bill; Total Nears $200M


A judge in Pennsylvania has awarded $49 million in attorney fees to plaintiffs counsel in a successful class action against the world’s biggest retailer over unpaid overtime, bringing the total judgment in the state court case to nearly $200 million.

Including $10 million in interest that has accrued since an additional damages award last month, the total now owed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. following today’s attorney fees ruling is just under $188 million, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Obviously we will appeal the case,” says John Simley, a Wal-Mart spokesman, who also notes that it is the retailer’s policy to pay employees for all time worked. “It was a flawed decision. We respect the court and the jury, but we strongly disagree with the decision.”

As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, workers have been awarded $141 million in damages in the case, which is part of an exploding plaintiffs practice in unpaid-overtime actions. There are 187,000 plaintiffs in the Wal-Mart case.

“Multiplaintiff wage-and-hour lawsuits pose the greatest employment litigation threat to American businesses today,” says Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm known for its defense of employers, on its Web site. “Since 2003, federal court filings of wage and hour collective actions have surpassed employment discrimination class actions, and settlements have reached into the tens of millions of dollars.”

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