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Judge Complains of ‘First-File Olympics’ in Wal-Mart Suits over Bribery Report

Posted Jul 18, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Delaware judge criticized lawyers for two public pension funds Monday for basing their shareholder lawsuits against Wal-Mart on a New York Times story rather than their own investigation.

Judge Leo Strine, chief judge of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, told lawyers there was no hurry, report Reuters and the Associated Press. He said the lawyers appeared to be competing in a “first-file Olympics” after the Times alleged the retailer’s Mexican unit paid bribes to obtain permits for the opening of new stores.

"More energy was spent by dueling plaintiffs over who gets to be lead counsel and lead plaintiff than was spent writing the complaints," Strine said. He refused to name lead counsel and said the lawyers should find a way to work together to obtain internal records from Wal-Mart.

The lawyers represented the California State Teachers' Retirement System, known as CalSTRS, and a group of New York City pension funds.

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