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S.C. Supreme Court dismisses Wal-Mart case

Mar 7, 2011 8:43:00 PM - thestate.com
The S.C. Supreme Court dismissed without explanation Monday a case involving juror qualifications and Wal-Mart that it had heard arguments on just last month.

On Feb. 16, Columbia attorneys David Massey and Debra Tedeschi argued to the high court a juror had been improperly seated on a jury that heard a Wal-Mart case concerning the store’s liability in a situation in which a 46-year-old employee had molested a 10-year-old girl in the store. The incident was captured on security camera.

The juror in question was a lawyer for a small law firm that had represented Wal-Mart in a previous $2.5 million class action suit and stood to make money representing Wal-Mart in future cases. That lawyer also became foreman of the jury that eventually exonerated Wal-Mart of wrong-doing.

Arguing for Wal-Mart, Columbia attorney Mitch Brown of Nelson Mullins told the Supreme Court the trial judge in the case had properly exercised his discretion when he allowed the lawyer-juror to be seated.

Wal-Mart, with some 27,000 workers in South Carolina, is one of the state’s biggest private employers. The case involved the Wal-Mart on Forest Drive and turned on whether Wal-Mart had done proper due diligence when it hired the known sex offender. It was tried before a Richland County jury in 2006.