Suit :: Wal-Mart wins federal suit against Maryland

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled today by a 2 to 1 margin in favor of Wal- Mart and against the state of Maryland, finding that state’s law requiring the chain to provide health insurance to its employees as a violation of federal law.

Maryland required employers over a certain size (only Wal-Mart was big enough) to spend 8 percent of their payrolls on health care. The appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that Maryland violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a federal labor law which enables companies to offer uniform health benefits across the country rather than have to deal with a variety of state requirements.

Hopefully this will send a message to other states. As of this week, IN, MN, MO, MS, and NY have all filed similar so-called “Fair Share” bills for the 2007 session, and NJ still has five “Fair Share” carryover bills pending for the 06-07 session.

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