The National Law Journal (6/5/00) reports that May 25th. was a “bad day in court for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.” First, the company admitted to “misguided conduct” in a Texas rape/abduction discovery case (see Newsflash below), and then, in a case from Illinois, a District Court judge said the company’s witness had “lied to cover Wal-Mart’s tracks”. The Illinois case involves a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jared Robbins, a teenagaer who was shot through the arm at an East Peoria Wal-Mart in 1997. His attacker was another teenager who shot him with an air rifle and ammunition that he had pulled directly off a Wal-Mart shelf. After months of court hearings in this case, a Wal-Mart employee claimed that he had never seen a 1993-94 Wal-Mart study of crime committed on store properties, despite evidence that he had seen the report in 1997. The Illinois case referred back to an earlier lawsuit in Tennessee, the McClung case, in which a 37 year old woman in Memphis was abducted from a Wal-Mart parking lot, raped and then suffocated in her car trunk. Her family has been in court against Wal-Mart for years. Judge Mihm said the Wal-Mart witness in the Robbins case was lying about his knowlege of his company’s crime reports (which were written about in two trade magazines) to protect the retailer in the McClung case. “I do believe that he lied to cover Wal-Mart’s tracks in the McClung case,” Judge Mihm said. He added that Wal-Mart’s VP for Loss Prevention was “considerably less than candid” when he testified that the company does not keep records of criminal acts in its stores for more than 30 days. The Judge found that a wholly owned Wal-Mart subsidiary, CMI, compiles crime data for the company. The Judge then ordered Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott to appear before him June 5th. to answer whether Wal-Mart’s “discovery compliance deficiencies” are the result of a company policy.
Last year at this time, the National Law Journal published a report of another judge in Texas as saying that he had “rarely…seen such a pattern of deliberate obfuscation, delay, misrepresentation, and downright lying to anaother party and to a court” based on Wal-Mart’s behavior in his court. With the Robbins case, the Meissner case, and the McClung case, serious crimes in Wal-mart parking lots, including murder and rape, are all raising issue with Wal-Mart’s suppression of information from the public and its customers about such crimes. I have outlined a number of these incidents on this website and in my book, “Slam Dunking Wal-Mart” (p.52-62). Is Wal-Mart deliberately trying to cover up the incidence of serious crimes at its stores? According to these court records, more than one Judge has concluded that misleading and false information has been given, and other critical information withheld, in an effort to cover up what’s really been going on in Wal-Mart parking lots.