On May 13, a Delaware Chancery Court judge dismissed a shareholder derivative suit accusing Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (Wal-Mart) board of directors of failing to conduct an adequate investigation of Mexican bribery allegations. The lead plaintiffs in the suit, two large state employee pension funds, alleged that the Wal-Mart board of directors also covered up the bribery allegations, which were exposed after a 2012 article by the New York Times reported that top officials at Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary oversaw millions of dollars in bribes in connection with the company’s expansion in Mexico. The Delaware judge found that an earlier case filed in Federal Court in Arkansas involved the same facts as the Delaware action and had been full y litigated before it was dismissed with prejudice in April 2015. The Arkansas Court had found that the plaintiffs failed to establish that a pre-suit demand on the directors to take action would have been futile, and that holding “preclude[d] re-litigation of the issue” in the Delaware action. See previous FCPA Scorecard coverage of the Arkansas action here.
In 2014, the plaintiffs had won the right to access various Wal-Mart internal documents, but they were denied the right to use other Wal-Mart documents that were allegedly provided by an anonymous whistleblower. See previous FCPA Scorecard coverage here.