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Court upholds $188 million judgment against Wal-Mart

NEW YORK — A Superior Court in Pennsylvania on Friday upheld a $187.6 million class action award against Wal-Mart Stores on allegations that its Pennsylvania employees were not properly compensated for off-the-clock work and missed rest breaks.

A panel said there was sufficient evidence at trial to conclude there had been a breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violations of state labor laws, the Associated Press reported.

The judges also ruled in a 211-page opinion that the presiding Philadelphia judge erred in determining some of the plaintiffs' legal fees, and sent that part of the case back for recalculation.

The 2006 trial, which lasted 32 days, resulted in a finding that Wal-Mart did not pay employees for all the work they performed and did not let them take their paid, mandatory rest breaks, the judges wrote. The court awarded $46 million in attorneys' fees, the report said.

Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said the chain believes the court decision was wrong in a number of respects and looks forward to additional review in the courts, according to the Associated Press. Rossiter said the company has settled numerous lawsuits in other states that involved similar allegations, and the Philadelphia case is the only active one that he knows of.