Wal-Mart is a huge corporation that everybody loves to hate. Because its stores are everywhere; it is known to have very “deep pockets”; and its corporate practices are felt to be unfair by many, from employees to shoppers to competitors to suppliers, it is often the target of lawsuits.
There is even such a thing as a “Wal-Mart Litigation Project” to track and coordinate the countless lawsuits that have been filed against the retail behemoth. Experts estimate that the company is sued several times every business day!
If you feel that you have been damaged by Walmart and have a case against them, you too can of course sue. The mechanics of a lawsuit against Walmart: gather evidence, hire a lawyer, negotiate, file suit, go to trial if necessary, are the same as a suit against the local mom-and-pop store. In practical terms, however, the process is often very different.
Because the corporation has been sued literally thousands of times, it has acquired formidable legal resources in the form of a huge team of attorneys, both in-house and in law firms. In other words, the company is ready, willing, and very able to defend itself inside and outside the courtroom!
Also, unlike many defendants who, when they know they are in the wrong, are eager to settle out of court rather than to incur the expense and risks of a jury trial, Walmart avoids out-of-court settlements wherever possible. There are several reasons for this.
The primary reason for this is that Walmart knows that it is thought of by many as having deep pockets just waiting to be picked. It knows that many plaintiffs believe that Walmart considers amounts of a few thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars “small” and not worth fighting over. If it actually behaved in this way, and it became known that Walmart was eager to settle, the company would be flooded with even more plaintiffs hoping to make a quick buck. So it’s in Walmart’s interest to be known as a tough defendant, even though the amounts involved may seem insignificant to an enormous corporation.
Because, as mentioned above, Walmart has considerable legal muscle at its disposal, it is willing to use it. A small business might “cry uncle” if subjected to extensive legal maneuvering and want to get rid of the nuisance. But not Walmart. You can’t “outlast” them in a lawsuit. They will use up your time and money before they use up theirs (unless your last name happens to be Buffett or Gates).
In fact, because Walmart is hated by so many and is such a popular target of lawsuits, many juries are unwilling to award large judgments to those suing the company because they think the company is unfairly attacked by “golddiggers.”
Because lawyers know that a lawsuit against Walmart is going to be an uphill battle, many are reluctant to take on cases against them.
The bottom line: you can sue Walmart, and if you have been genuinely wronged by them, perhaps you should. They are not above the law! But don’t think of them as a cash cow that’s easy to milk. If you choose to go after them, you, and your attorney, will probably have quite a legal battle on your hands. So make sure you have a good case. And a good lawyer!