Wal-Mart Corp.

A lawsuit has been filed and is seeking class action status against the retail chain for allegedly violating Texas laws by setting hours for optometrists who lease space from the company. The lawsuit was filed in Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas on behalf of optometrists who lease spaces from Wal-Mart throughout the state of Texas.

Optometrist offices located next door to Wal-Marts are leased from Wal-Mart for a percentage of the doctor's monthly earnings. The leases Wal-Mart uses have a section where doctors must fill in the hours they will work each day of the week. The lawsuit claims that after an optometrist has been in business next to a Wal-Mart for a couple of years, pressure to increase hours and days worked is exerted with the threat of a lease cancellation for noncompliance.

According to the Texas Optometry Act, the businesses must have separate entrances because Texas is a "two door state," where there must be a literal wall of separation. The Texas law explicitly prohibits a money-making operation like Wal-Mart from influencing the hours, times, and appointment schedules of optometrists. Texas is the only state with such a law on the books. The lawsuit seeks to prevent Wal-Mart from continuing the practice of pressuring optometrists to work more hours and seeks damages and the recovery of attorney's fees and court costs.

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