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Wal-Mart Won’t Back Down in Burbank Fight

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is taking its bid to begin construction on a new store in Burbank to a state appeals court. The Bentonville, Ark. retailer has been blocked from beginning work on its proposed Empire Center location by a lower court injunction issued in August, pending the outcome of litigation surrounding the construction. But the company said Dec. 4 it will take the matter to a higher court after the Los Angeles Superior Court judge said he did not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter. The retailer wants to move ahead with work despite the pending lawsuit. Three Burbank residents sued the company, along with the city, in June, alleging no proper study was done on the environmental impact of the increased traffic the opening of the location might cause. At issue then is whether Wal-Mart can proceed with construction permitted before the lawsuit was filed – permits that are contested by the suit. “We are confident that the permits were validly issued,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Rachel Wall. “At this point it’s just on hold and we’d like to begin work.” Whether or not the injunction is lifted, the parties will return to court Dec. 14, when a trial date for the lawsuit is expected to be set. The city, also a defendant in the lawsuit, would like the retail giant to move forward. “We’re disappointed because this injunction prolongs a decision from being made and prevents us from being able to move forward,” said Drew Sugars, spokesman for the city. “We believe the permits were issued appropriately and we’re going to maintain that position.” Wal-Mart has faced similar battles in the Los Angeles area this year. In September, a judge refused to issue a temporary injunction to stop work on a store in Chinatown.

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