Wal-Mart Responds to Contempt Motion, Brief Under Seal Until Feb. 13

Bloomberg BNA’s Corporate Law & Accountability Report is available on the Corporate Law Resource Center. This news service keeps corporate practitioners informed of legal developments of...

Feb. 9 — In a hotly contested Delaware Chancery Court §220 action, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has filed its Feb. 6 brief in opposition to a contempt motion that accuses the megastore of failing to comply with a Delaware Supreme Court order.

The brief is under seal and a public version is expected to be available by Feb. 13, according to an official at the chancery court.

Representatives for both sides did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement to Bloomberg BNA Feb. 2, Randy Hargrove, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said that the company takes “our obligations seriously.”


On Dec. 8, Wal-Mart certified to the chancery court that it had fully complied with a July Delaware Supreme Court order requiring the company to release internal documents related to what directors may have known about claims that officials handed out bribes to facilitate Mexican real estate deals.

However, three days later, the Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW, the plaintiff that filed the §220 books and records demand, filed a contempt motion claiming that the retailer failed to fully comply with the supreme court order. IBEW asked the court to order the megastore to pay a $1 million fine and $10,000 per day until it complies with the production order.

Subsequently, a dispute arose regarding a proposed scheduling order, and as a result Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard sent a Jan. 30 letter directing Wal-Mart to file a “substantive response” setting forth its opposition to the contempt motion.