Wal-Mart's $1.39 class action suit in conference

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 16, 2005, 8:32am

After months of delays, Wal-Mart may finally get a chance to present its argument that gift cards cannot be redeemed for cash to Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron during a case management conference ar 9 a.m. on Aug. 24.

Ashley Peach filed a class action suit against Wal-Mart on June 16, 2004, alleging the cashier at Wal-Mart failed to return a $1.39 balance on her gift card. She is the daughter of Armettia Peach, whose complaint against Granite City was recently voided by Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

Represented by Jeffery Millar of The Lakin Law Firm, Peach alleges that Wal-Mart wrongfully retained unused balances on gift cards.

Wal-Mart contends that using the card constitutes acceptance of its terms.

In her complaint, Peach alleges that sometime after Mother’s Day in May 2004 she purchased shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries from the Granite City Wal-Mart, using two separate $10 gift cards to pay for the purchase that totaled $18.61.

Wal-Mart is represented by Jennifer Kingston of Bryan Cave in St. Louis.

Kingston will argue that Peach’s complaint fails as a matter of law because Peach cannot prove she suffered any actual damages, and a claim is only actionable if the damages alleged are real and present.

"The gift card was bought for the express purpose of purchasing Wal-Mart inventory and it cannot now be transformed into a right to collect cash,” Kingston wrote.

“Peach has not-and cannot-allege that she is unable to use the remaining balance on her gift card,” Wal-Mart argues.

Peach has also filed similar cases against Fashion Bug and K-Mart. She dismissed her suit against Fashion Bug on April 28.

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