By  on July 3, 2008

- CROOKE DEPARTS HOT TOPIC: Michael Crooke, who was appointed president of the Hot Topic division of Hot Topic Inc. on June 2, has left the company. Hot Topic did not provide a reason for Crooke's departure and did not return a call for comment on Wednesday. Company chief executive officer Betsy McLaughlin has taken over Crooke's responsibilities. Before joining the City of Industry, Calif.-based retailer, Crooke served as president and ceo of Patagonia Inc. and its parent company, Lost Arrow Corp.

- WAL-MART DISABILITY BIAS CASE: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York upheld a $7.5 million jury verdict against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which was accused of discriminating against Patrick Brady, who has cerebral palsy. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the decision. "We believe in respecting the dignity of every individual and do not tolerate any form of discrimination," she said. On Monday, a U.S. District Court judge in Minnesota ordered Wal-Mart to pay $6.5 million to compensate workers for missed breaks and off-the-clock work. Civil penalties for that case could run as high as $2 billion and will be decided at a jury trial in October.

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