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Former Wal-Mart Exec Sues for Defamation

BENTONVILLE, Ark. --A former Wal-Mart executive who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the retailer earlier this year has now sued the world's biggest retailer for defamation.

In the suit filed yesterday with the Circuit Court of Benton County, Ark., Jared Bowen said Wal-Mart had called him "a liar, a thief, and a fraud" in documents it released last week in response to his whistleblower suit.

Bowen's attorneys are seeking more than $75,000 for injury to Bowen's reputation, mental anguish, and loss of earnings and earnings capacity, according to the defamation lawsuit.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams called Bowen's claim "groundless." "Our first impression is that this is a remarkably tight-lipped, non-specific response to our highly detailed position statement. One would expect more than this fairly innocuous, general denial unless there simply aren't facts in his favor," she told Progressive Grocer.

Williams claimed that Bowen's complaint doesn't deny that he helped Tom Coughlin misappropriate Wal-Mart funds. "It doesn't respond to the very specific evidence of Bowen's misconduct that we laid out earlier," she said.

Wal-Mart claimed in its documents that Bowen wasn't a whistleblower, but was fired because he helped former vice chairman Tom Coughlin misappropriate hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Coughlin has denied the allegations.

Bowen's attorneys claim that he reported the expenses allegedly made by Coughlin and was fired for reporting the wrongdoing.
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