Los Angeles, CA: A breach of contract class action lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart Sores Inc, alleging it shortchanged customers over four years with respect to sales tax, is seeking certification. The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart defrauded its customers by as much as $9 million.
Filed in 2014, the complaint specifically alleges that the budget retailer incorrectly applied lower sales tax rates to consumer returns. Plaintiffs are contending that Wal-Mart violated the terms of its sales agreement by refunding its customers less than the purchase price.
The lawsuit claims that an analysis done by Wal-Mart showed that there were nearly 20 million returns to stores with lower sales tax rates from 2007-09. During that time, the retailer used a flawed formula to recalculate how much customers spent, based on the sales tax of the store where the return was processed. The complaint alleges that Wal-Mart should have looked up how much customers paid for the items in the stores where they were purchased.
"Because the plaintiffs' claims meet the requirements of Rule 23, and the representatives class counsel demonstrated the capacity to adequately represent the class, the court should certify the class and appoint the attorneys as class counsel,"plaintiffs Shaun Brandewie and John Newbrough state in the motion for certification. Both plaintiffs made several purchases at Wal-Mart, returned them to other locations, and were not refunded their full return. All of the discrepancies described in the complaint are for less than $1.
According to the motion for certification, the class is readily discernable because it includes anybody who purchased an item at Wal-Mart and was refunded an amount less than what they paid. Wal-Mart tracks sales and return data such that the amounts paid for items and the amounts refunded are easily ascertainable, the motion said.
Plaintiffs are represented by Dennis R. Lansdowne, William B. Eadie, Stuart Scott, Nicholas DiCello and Daniel Frech of Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP and Daniel Myers of Myers Law LLC. The lawsuit is Shaun Brandewie et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. et al., case number 1:14-cv-965, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.