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A federal jury has ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to pay a Long Island, N.Y., man $7.5 million after ruling that the world’s largest retailer discriminated against the man because he has cerebral palsy. Patrick Brady, 21, was hired for a job in the Wal-Mart pharmacy department in Centereach during the summer of 2002. After one day in the pharmacy, he was reassigned to other responsibilities, including collecting garbage and shopping carts from the parking lot. The jury in U.S. District Court in Central Islip deliberated one day before ruling on Wednesday that Brady was discriminated against when he was transferred. It also found that Brady was asked impermissible pre-employment questions about his disability, said his lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor. Brady, who now works in a Centereach supermarket bagging groceries, said in a statement that he was “very happy the jury believed in me.” The jury award includes $5 million in punitive damages, which Wigdor said was likely to be reduced to $600,000 since federal law limits the amount that can be awarded for punitive damages. The jury also awarded Brady $2.5 million in compensatory damages, Wigdor said. Christi Gallagher, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, said in a statement that the company would appeal. “We appreciate the service of the jurors but disagree with their decision,” Gallagher said. “We feel very strongly that Mr. Brady did not suffer discrimination in our store.” Wal-Mart shares fell 14 cents to close at $51.46 in Thursday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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