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Wal-Mart scored a victory Tuesday in its attempt to keep documents in an employment class action under seal. Upholding a tentative February decision, Alameda County, Calif., Judge Ronald Sabraw ruled that certain records from discovery and class certification motions in Savaglio v. Wal-Mart, C-835687-7 — including audits and wage information — would remain out of the public eye. Plaintiffs in the wage-and-hour suit, represented by the Furth Firm in San Francisco, claim that Wal-Mart owes them back pay for meal and rest breaks. The privacy issue came to light when the Berkeley Daily Planet — a twice-weekly newspaper — intervened in the case to get access to documents filed under seal. M. Suzanne Murphy, a partner with the Oakland, Calif., labor firm Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld who represents the Daily Planet, said the Tuesday ruling seals more records than did the tentative opinion. However, it does not classify the documents as trade secrets. Murphy, who used to specialize in sealed records law for the Judicial Council of California, points out that several of the sealed documents were publicized in other court proceedings and on a Web site. “He doesn’t even require that Wal-Mart had used the documents confidentially,” she said. A Wal-Mart spokesperson did not return a call for comment. Murphy and Becky O’Malley, a Daily Planet editor, said they plan to appeal. One goal, Murphy said, is to prevent the case from setting a precedent. “The standard that Sabraw creates � is so broad and so vast as to basically swallow the presumption of openness of court records,” she said.

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