Case management conference set in Wal-Mart sales tax class action

Amelia Flood Nov. 13, 2009, 11:27am

A class action suit that began with Wal-Mart's alleged failure to refund just under $2.50 on a returned Blu-Ray player is back in Madison County and set for case management Thursday.

Wal-Mart had removed the suit to federal court, but the case was remanded to Madison County in late August.

Proposed lead plaintiff John Whitwell is asking to lead a nationwide class with breach of contract claims that could exceed $5 million in damages, according to court documents.

Whitwell alleges that Wal-Mart breached its contract to fully refund purchases when he returned a Blu-Ray player he bought in April.

According to his complaint, after buying the disc player at a Collinsville Wal-Mart, he returned it two days later at a store in neighboring Glen Carbon. He paid $214.04 in Collinsville. The city's 8.1 percent sales tax was included in the purchase total.

When he returned it in Glen Carbon, the store paid out $211.56, $2.48 less than what he paid because the sales tax in Glen Carbon is 6.58 percent and lower than where he bought it.

Whitwell's suit seeks unspecified actual damages for himself and the class members, attorneys' fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and futher relief.

The case management hearing is set before Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel stack for Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m.

Whitwell and the proposed class are represented by Robert Schmieder III and Bradley Lakin of Wood River.

Wal-Mart is represented by Stephen Strauss.

The case is Madison case number 09-0L-525.

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