Ashley Peach, who has three pending class actions suits in Madison County, will be in court Nov. 24 for a case management conference in her suit against Wal-Mart. She has also sued Fashion Bug and K-Mart on similar charges that the retailers defrauded her on remaining gift card balances.

Peach's recent court action against Fashion Bug was reported in last week's MCR.

Represented by Jeffery Millar of The Lakin Law Firm, Peach alleges that Wal-Mart developed a practice to improperly increase its profits by wrongfully retaining the property of its customers through a systematic pattern of refusing to return unused balances on gift cards after a customer makes a purchase.

In her complaint, Peach states that sometime after Mother’s Day in May 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.

After the sale was complete, Peach alleges the cashier would not give her back the $1.39 balance as cash even though she demanded it.

Peach claims the balance on the gift card represents money to which she and the class have the right to immediate possess.

In Count I of the complaint, Peach claims she has been damaged in the amount of the remaining balance on the gift card, legal interest, as well as reasonable attorney fees and court costs, plus treble punitive damages, but in no event an amount in excess of $75,000 exclusive of costs and interest.

In Count II of her complaint, Peach alleges that Wal-Mart’s improper conduct constitutes unjust enrichment and it would violate the fundamental principles of justice, equity, and good conscience. Wal-Mart's consistent corporate practices wrongfully retain the benefits received from the class, according to the complaint.

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