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Ex-Wal-Mart Executive Seeks Dismissal of Retirement Suit

Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires characterized such releases as "pretty common in corporate America."

BOSTON — Former Wal-Mart vice chairman Thomas Coughlin is seeking dismissal of a suit filed by the company to void his multimillion-dollar retirement package and recover company funds that Wal-Mart said he illegally siphoned.

Coughlin’s lawyers filed a 20-page brief late Tuesday in Arkansas that cited a Wal-Mart-drafted release both parties signed upon Coughlin’s retirement in January. The document “unambiguously bars Wal-Mart from asserting ‘any and all liability … or any other costs or losses of any nature whatsoever, whether known or unknown, which may have arisen out of or in any way related to [Coughlin’s] employment with Wal-Mart,'” the brief stated.

Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires characterized such releases as “pretty common in corporate America” and said the retailer remains “confident in the merits of the case.”

Wal-Mart filed suit in July to withdraw Coughlin’s retirement package amid a federal grand jury investigation of the company’s allegations that Coughlin stole as much as $500,000 in corporate funds through phony expense reports and reimbursements and unauthorized use of gift cards.

Coughlin has denied the accusations. His attorneys declined comment.

Coughlin, a 27-year Wal-Mart veteran, retired in January and stepped down from Wal-Mart’s board in March after an internal investigation turned up alleged evidence of fraud.