Former Business Development Director Sues Walmart for Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

Tri Huynh Alleges Potential Fraud in Retailer’s Global Marketplace Platform

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, March 15, 2018 / — The deRubertis Law Firm filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a former director of business development for Walmart’s Global Marketplace Platform.

In addition to other unlawful actions, the suit alleges the retailer fired Tri Huynh in violation of Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation laws after he reported what he believed to be serious violations of Walmart’s internal accounting controls, ethics transgressions, intentional dishonesty at the executive level, as well as potential shareholder, securities and wire fraud.

Huynh, who Walmart hired in 2014 to recruit, onboard and follow up with third-party sellers on the company’s online marketplace, received positive performance evaluations and stock option awards, consistently exceeding goals and expectations. However, when he began reporting what he perceived as legal violations affecting Walmart’s online Marketplace platform, says the complaint, his superiors not only attempted to silence him, they also leveled accusations that negatively affected his employment record.

Nevertheless, Huynh continued to press the company to correct internal control failures that he believed if not addressed could seriously impact Walmart’s e-commerce business, says the lawsuit, included mischaracterizations of third-party products that allowed Walmart to collect commissions in excess of amounts specified in agreements with the third-party sellers and failures to process customer returns, resulting in inflated sales figures.

Ultimately, according to the complaint, after all his attempts failed to convince his superiors about the need to develop better internal controls for risk management, compliance and financial reporting purposes, Huynh reported his concerns – including specific concerns that Walmart was painting a misleading picture of its e-commerce growth – directly to Walmart’s U.S. E-Commerce CEO Marc Lore and Executive Vice President and COO Michael Bender. Less than a week later, on Jan. 10, 2017, he was terminated, says the complaint.

“Tri believed he was performing his job responsibly by reporting issues that affected Walmart’s Marketplace,” says his lawyer, David deRubertis. “Instead of addressing his concerns, the company attempted to silence him. When that didn’t work, he was fired. In its rush to win the e-commerce war at all costs, Mr. Huynh’s lawsuit alleges Walmart sacrificed and betrayed its founder’s key principles of integrity and honesty.”

The deRubertis Law Firm, APC is a Los Angeles-based boutique litigation firm representing employees in whistleblower, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation matters, among other employment disputes, as well as catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, contingency business litigation, consumer class actions and insurance bad faith matters. Principal David deRubertis was the lead trial lawyer for Catherine Zulfer, a corporate controller, in the historic Zulfer v. Playboy Enterprises Inc. case in which deRubertis secured what was then the largest ever Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation jury verdict in American history. deRubertis is consistently recognized as one of California’s leading trial lawyers by legal organizations and publications. The Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles named him “Trial Lawyer of the Year” (2014) and the California Employment Lawyers Association presented him the Joe Posner award (2011). He received California Lawyer’s prestigious CLAY award (2014), was listed in the San Francisco Recorder’s “Million-Dollar Verdicts” (2014) and garnered the Daily Journal’s “Top Plaintiff Verdict by Impact” (2016 and 2014), to name a few.

Brenda McGann
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Source: EIN Presswire