Seemingly with relief, Walmart released the following statement: “The Third Circuit reached the right decision in reversing the district court’s ruling. We appreciate the court’s quick consideration of the issues.”
In a ruling by a U.S. appeals court handed down Tuesday, a previous order to let shareholders vote on a proposal for tighter oversight on selling firearms with high-capacity magazines was reversed.
The opinion was an appeal to an earlier U.S. District Court ruling from last December in favor of New York-based Trinity Church, which filed the lawsuit in April 2014 after the retail giant refused to bring the proposal to shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission said it would not punish Wal-Mart for excluding it.
In that case, U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark said Wal-Mart wrongly excluded the church, a major shareholder, at its annual meeting and granted Trinity an injunction preventing the company from excluding the proposal from proxy materials for its 2015 annual meeting. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned that injunction Tuesday.
Citing that the court would issue a detailed opinion later, Circuit Judge Thomas L. Ambro noted simply in the case of Trinity Wall Street v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that the lower court’s decision was reversed and its injunction vacated.
“Consequently, Wal-Mart may exclude Trinity’s Proposal from its 2015 proxy materials,” wrote Ambro, a 1999 appointment by President Bill Clinton. The two other judges, Thomas I. Vanaskie and Patty Shwartz, are both appointments to the bench by President Obama.