On April 14 Breitbart News reported that Walmart won an appeal against NYC’s Trinity Church in which Trinity was trying to force Walmart to allow a shareholder vote on the sales of “high capacity guns” and “other potentially offensive products” as a way to force Wal-Mart’s board to rethink the sales of these items.
Trinity Church is now appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in hopes for intervention to force Walmart’s hand.
The path to this point has been circuitous. Trinity Church filed suit claiming that larger-than-10-round magazines “enabled” gunmen at Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado to carry out mass killings. On November 27 U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark, District of Delaware, ruled in favor of Trinity. Walmart appealed Stark’s ruling, and on April 14 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in Walmart’s favor.
Now Trinity is appealing to SCOTUS.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Trinity is continuing to seek a decision that will force “[Walmart to] allow shareholders to vote for board review of the sale of semiautomatic rifles and other products that the church says could harm the company’s reputation. A Trinity spokesman said, “We continue to believe that corporate boards have the responsibility to oversee the creation of policies that will guide decision making on marketing and other issues that could have momentous impact on the safety and well-being of society and to shareholder value.”
Throughout the judicial process, Walmart has maintained that “Trinity’s proposal would interfere with the retailer’s ordinary business operations by heaving new regulations upon the retailer.”
In siding with Walmart, the 3rd Circuit explained that a barrier to Trinity’s push was the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “’ordinary business’ exclusion.” This exclusion “lets a company omit a shareholder proposal from its proxy materials if the proposal relates to its ordinary business operations.” And the Court explained that the definition of an “‘ordinary business’ exclusion” is difficult do define at all times, in all businesses.
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