BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here has been ordered by an Arkansas jury to pay $50 million in damages to three businessmen for allegedly taking their ideas on how to boost sales at Sam's Club without compensating them.
1999 charged that Wal-Mart adopted ideas proposed by their Little Rock, Ark.-based company, P.O. Market Inc., without paying them for the ideas.
Their ideas, which the plaintiff said they discussed with Wal-Mart executives in 1992 and 1993, involved offering credit to large corporate customers.
The plaintiffs charged that Wal-Mart officials told them they were close to completing a deal and asked for extensive details about the plan. However, rather than hiring P.O. Market to implement the plan, Wal-Mart rolled out a version of its own based on information that P.O. Market supplied, the plaintiffs charged.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said that a credit system Sam's Club put into place with G.E. Capital Corp. was unrelated to the ideas developed by P.O. Market.
"There was no connection at all between the two, and the jury was mistaken," the spokeswoman said. "We certainly believe this situation will be corrected upon appeal."