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Judge denies Wal-Mart suit

A circuit judge has denied a class-action lawsuit that would have allowed as many as 230,000 Wal-Mart employees in Florida to sue the world's biggest retailer for failing to pay low-level employees for extra work.

Circuit Judge Glenn Hess wrote in his ruling that if it were proved that Wal-Mart shortchanged the employees, determining the amount owed to each worker would overwhelm the court system. Hess wrote that the court could have faced between 900 and 2,300 trials to determine the damages, if even 1 percent of the 90,000 to 230,000 Wal-Mart employees in Florida since 1997 joined the lawsuit.

A former night shift manager in the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Panama City Beach and several former employees of the Wal-Mart in Chipley sued the company in 2001, claiming they were forced to work through breaks and skip meals.

They wanted to include all the hourly workers Wal-Mart stores have employed in Florida since 1997 in the class-action suit.