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Was Milberg satisfied, or just shy?

Did the class of workers being represented get enough relief that the lawsuit could be dropped? Or did turning on the light make the law firm scurry away?

Plaintiffs' firm Milberg, Weiss & Bershad voluntarily dismissed a nationwide employment class action late last year against Wal-Mart, saying that the retailer three months earlier had changed its policy on health care coverage. But the move to dismiss came just two weeks after the Atlanta federal judge handling the case told defense attorneys they could probe "highly irregular" payments to the lead plaintiff by the local counsel....

The dismissal came after a federal judge in Georgia allowed Wal-Mart's attorneys to conduct more discovery regarding payments to Lisa Smith Mauldin by George Stein, the Georgia lawyer who was serving as local counsel at the time. The judge also refused to allow Milberg Weiss to appoint a new lead plaintiff in the case until the discovery had been completed.

"Stein's payments to Mauldin are highly irregular and at the very least create the appearance of impropriety," wrote U.S. District Judge Julie E. Carnes of Atlanta in a Nov. 22, 2006, order. "Moreover, Milberg Weiss was recently indicted on charges of recruiting and paying plaintiffs to participate in class action lawsuits."

Stein, who has withdrawn from the case, has admitted paying Mauldin checks totaling $2,250, but denies that it was to induce her to sue Wal-Mart or that Milberg knew about it.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.