Judge Nicholas Byron

It took 15 months for Ashley Peach to answer a motion to dismiss her $1.39 claim against retailer Wal-Mart, and when her answer came she kept it secret.

On May 5, Peach filed her opposition to the motion under seal.

Wal-Mart had asked Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron to dismiss the case in February 2005.

Peach alleged in 2004 that Wal-Mart improperly refused to give change on a gift card purchase. She sued K-Mart and Fashion Bug for the same reason.

She asked to represent a class of consumers who should have received change.

Last year she dismissed her suit against Fashion Bug.

After Wal-Mart moved to dismiss last year, Byron set a hearing.

When the date for the hearing arrived, Peach's attorney, Thomas Maag of the Lakin Law Firm, asked for more time to respond. Byron granted it.

At a hearing six weeks later, Maag again asked for more time. Byron gave him 30 days and set a hearing in June.

In June Maag asked for more time and Byron gave him 21 days.

In August Maag asked for more time and Byron gave him 21 days.

Maag left the Lakin firm in January, to join Wendler & Ezra.

Peach's answer finally arrived, but the seal on it keeps the identity of her attorney as mysterious as her argument.

Byron set a hearing June 9 for the Wal-Mart and K-Mart cases.

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