By  on August 18, 2005

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.

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