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Wal-Mart Seeks Discovery in Enviro Suits: Did Competitors (and Unions) Pay the Legal Bills?

Posted Sep 23, 2010 5:53 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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It hasn't been easy for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to open new stores lately.

Protracted environmental litigation has slowed the growth of the giant retailer in California and elsewhere, especially since 2002, when it began selling groceries in its stores.

But it may not be grass-root environmental groups funding these cases, as the company had believed, but competing supermarkets and, in some cases, unions, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier in June.

Now Wal-Mart is asking judges in four of the California cases to require its opponents to disclose who is paying the legal bills, the newspaper says in an article published today in its print edition.

"The work we do helps to level the playing field as regular citizens try to fight back against the world's largest retailer and the impact of big-box development in their communities," Pat Fox of Saint Consulting Group tells the WSJ.

He says his land-use firm was hired to help organize opposition to hundreds of Wal-Mart projects, but declines to name the clients for which Saint works.

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