Walmart stores have been in the news numerous times for alleged crooked practices. In a recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals case, the court rejected numerous claims against the retail giant.
The facts and allegations of the case are more interesting than the underlying legal arguments. We’ll touch more on the facts in the case for this end-of-week blog post, but if you’re interested in reading the legal arguments further, have a look at the Third Circuit’s opinion. The case has been going on for eight years and there have been at least four opinions on this case.
Most recently, the District Court rejected several claims, including the final class certification of an FLSA class, a RICO claim and a claim of false imprisonment.
The lawsuit pushes several claims. It was brought by a Walmart cleaning crew who claimed that they had unpaid overtime. But Fair Labor wasn't their only claim. They claimed that Walmart was a corrupt organization that took part in the transport of illegal immigrants and finally, that Walmart managers used to lock the workers in overnight.
The Third Circuit failed to certify the class under the FLSA, finding that the plaintiffs hadn't met the "similarly situated" standard. The similarities among the plaintiffs were "too few" and the differences, "too many," the court held.
As part of their RICO claim, the plaintiffs raised slavery, or the more technical term, involuntary servitude. The Third Circuit tossed this claim as "frivolous," finding that the Walmart managers' threats of reporting the illegal immigrants didn't amount to forced labor.
These are only two of the claims advanced by the plaintiffs. It's a classic case of David and Goliath, only Goliath won. For more information on the other claims, have a look at the Third Circuit's opinion.