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Wal-Mart, Merrill Lynch Settle Class Action Lawsuit over Retirement Plan for $13.5 Million

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In settlement papers filed in federal court in Kansas City, Wal-Mart Stores and Merrill Lynch admit no wrongdoing, but have agreed to pay $13.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged Wal-Mart and retirement plan administrator Merrill Lynch breached their fiduciary duty to nearly 2 million past and present Wal-Mart employees in the company’s 401(k).

Wal-Mart said in the court filings that it would “further its goal to offer investment options with fees that are reasonable,” and provide increased financial education to employees, and remove mutual funds with high fees.

Forbes reported a statement made by Wal-Mart spokesperson Greg Rossiter said, “Walmart agrees it is in the best interest of the parties, and in the best interest of the 401(K) plan’s participants, to resolve the claims in this case on the terms laid out in the settlement agreement.”

A settlement hearing will be held within several months, to approve the terms which include using the settlement funds to reduce future 401(k) plans. Lawyers involved in the class action could get as much as $4 million from the settlement, and named plaintiff Jeremy Braden would get $20,000.

Merrill Lynch, initially not named as a defendant would pay $10 million of the total amount of the settlement. An amended complaint filed by Braden said Merrill Lynch received undisclosed “kickback payments” from outside mutual fund companies for allowing them to be in the 401(k) mutual fund plan. disclaimer: This article: Wal-Mart, Merrill Lynch Settle Class Action Lawsuit over Retirement Plan for $13.5 Million was posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 at 8:06 pm at and is filed under Fraud Lawsuits.

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