When is a proposed settlement between class action plaintiffs lawyers and a defendant company collusive and unfair to the class?

That is the question Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Thomas Murtagh faces at a Wednesday hearing. Murtagh is the Woburn, Mass. judge who is presiding over a contentious wage-and-hour class action against Wal-Mart. The eight-year-old case has pitted warring groups of plaintiffs lawyers against each other: One side claims the other tried to strike a collusive deal with Wal-Mart; the other side, which includes famed antitrust lawyer Frederick Furth, vehemently denies the collusion accusation, and asserts it’s won an excellent settlement proposal for the class.

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