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April 23, 2014

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Appeals court upholds Las Vegas judge’s distribution of attorneys fees in Wal-Mart suit

A district court judge's decision about how out-of-state lawyers will split $28 million they were awarded in a Las Vegas lawsuit against Wal-Mart was upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart agreed to pay $85 million to settle of wage claims by workers in the multi-state suit — this settlement covered about 3 million employees in 30 states — and Senior District Judge Philip Pro set the distribution amounts of fees for lawyers from California and New Hampshire that were appointed to handle the case.

The company faced lawsuits all around the country over claims that it forced employees to work off the clock, denied rest breaks or otherwise manipulated employees' hours. The $85 million settlement was just a portion of a global $640 million resolution of wage-and-hour claims.

Pro awarded Robert Bonsignore of Belmont, N.H., more than $11 million; Carolyn Beasley Burton and her group from San Rafael, Calif., more than $6 million; and Carol LaPlant of Berkley, Calif., $730,000.

The Burton group challenged the distribution, but the appeals court affirmed the awards.

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