Frank Azar first filed suit against Wal-Mart in 1995, alleging that the company had systematically denied overtime to pharmacists in violation of federal labor laws. Over the next 15 years, Azar and counsel across the country brought actions in 26 states against Wal-Mart for systematic violations of wage and hour law. The Firm’s lawyers were on two separate trial teams that litigated class actions to successful verdicts in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. After considerable negotiations in 2008, Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer agreed to pay nearly$700 million to settle class actions across the country. The cases involved hundreds of thousands of current and former hourly employees. The Azar firm successfully represented people in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi Missouri, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico
Another case settled by Wal-Mart was Savaglio v. Wal-Mart Stores, originally filed by the Azar Firm in 2001 on behalf of all current and former employees of Wal-Mart in California. Savaglio was tried in 2005 in Oakland and resulted in a $172 million verdict. It was later settled while on appeal.
In 2006, a jury in Pennsylvania awarded $78 million against Wal-Mart in a lawsuit over rest breaks and off-the-clock work. Last year, a judge increased that award to $188 million to include damages, interest and lawyers’ fees. Wal-Mart appealed the final judgment, lost in the Pennsylvania Superior Court (appellate court level) and has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review the case.
The Minnesota case, Braun v. Wal-Mart was tried to the bench and resulted in a finding of over 1,000,000 violations of Minnesota Labor Law. Wal-Mart settled the case before the damages trial commenced.
Wal-Mart proved to be a zealous litigator but after 15 plus years of fighting, the Azar Firm was able to recover damages for their clients and change the way the largest private employer in the country treats its workers.
In 2009 the Azar Firm filed suit against Hewlett-Packard Company on behalf of a class of 26,000 current and former sales representatives. The sales representatives had been underpaid and experienced substantial delays in pay. The case, entitled Johnson v. HP was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco and seeks to include a nationwide class of sales representatives. In addition, the Azar Firm is pursuing claims against Hewlett-Packard in state courts across the country, including California.
Taking on the World
The Firm is proud of the fact that they have taken on and defeated some of the biggest companies in the world. We relish the opportunity to make the most powerful accountable to working Americans.