Plaintiffs File Contempt Motion Against Wal-Mart in Case About Alleged Bribes

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By Michael Greene

Dec. 12 — Plaintiffs in a hotly contested books and records action against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Dec. 11 filed a motion for civil contempt in the Delaware Chancery Court against the megastore.

The grounds for the motion are outlined in a brief that is currently under seal, according to the motion and officials at the chancery court.

Representatives from both parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Dec. 8, Wal-Mart certified to the chancery court that it has fully complied with a July Delaware Supreme Court order requiring the company to release internal documents about what directors and officers knew about alleged bribes made by executives at its subsidiary in Mexico.

In a Dec. 8 letter to Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard, Wal-Mart included a proposed order requesting that the court close the underlying books and records action and that the consolidated derivative action proceed pursuant to a case management order entered earlier.

That same day, Bouchard directed the plaintiffs to inform him by Dec. 11 of their position and to specify what items, if any, remain open in this case.

Books & Records

The Delaware Supreme Court July 23 ordered Wal-Mart to hand over certain internal files that concerned what its directors knew about claims that executives paid bribes to facilitate Mexican real estate deals, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed a May 20, 2013 chancery court decision in a § 220 action brought by the plaintiffs.

According to Wal-Mart's letter, on Oct. 29 it produced the requested documents and subsequently identified the custodian of certain documents as requested by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs previously had complained about Wal-Mart's rate of production compared with pending derivative litigation in Arkansas.

The underlying Delaware derivative action and two related Arkansas actions are ongoing; the plaintiffs have warned of a scenario in which Arkansas courts could render a judgment that would be binding in Delaware.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Greene in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at

Wal-Mart's letter is available at

Plaintiffs' motion for contempt is available at