Wal-Mart and Plaintiffs’ Counsel Announce Settlement of Transportation Case
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – On January 22, 2009, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and attorneys representing the Plaintiffs entered into an agreement to settle the claims asserted in a class action lawsuit entitled Daryal Nelson and Tommy Armstrong v. Wal-Mart, Inc. and Wal-Mart Transportation LLC, which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
In the lawsuit, the Plaintiffs asserted that Wal-Mart had discriminated against African Americans on the basis of race in recruitment and hiring for the position of over-the road truck driver in Wal-Mart’s private fleet. Wal-Mart denied that it engaged in any policy or pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination, or other unlawful conduct. The settlement is subject to approval by the court, and earlier today, the attorneys for the Plaintiffs submitted the formal settlement documents to the court with a request for approval.
“Resolving this litigation is in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates,” said Daphne Moore, spokesperson for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “Encouraging diversity is an important part of the hiring process for all areas of our company. We are implementing improvements to our transportation division’s recruitment, selection and personnel systems and believe they will be an integral part of our commitment to diversity.”
Under the agreement, Wal-Mart and its insurance carrier will pay $17.5 million. Also, Wal-Mart’s Logistics Division has agreed to (a) provide priority job placements to 23 of the class members who submit approved claim forms, (b) provide direct notice of all future job opportunities to all interested class members, (c) establish benchmark hiring goals so that the composition of future hires, by race, is proportionate to the racial composition of the applicants, (d) select a diversity recruiter, and (e) enhance its recruitment efforts and advertising targeted to African-Americans.
“We are very pleased with the settlement,” said Hank Bates, an attorney representing the class of African-American truck drivers. “This is an excellent result for the class both in terms of the 17.5 million dollars in monetary relief and in terms of Wal-Mart’s commitments to job placements, equal opportunity and enhanced recruitment efforts moving forward.”
The class is represented by Hank Bates of the law firm Carney, Williams, Bates, Bozeman & Pulliam, PLLC, Morgan E. “Chip” Welch of Welch and Kitchens, LLC, and John W. Walker of John W. Walker, P.A., all located in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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