CHUCK BARTELS, AP Business Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has given final approval to a $17.5 million settlement reached after black truck drivers sued retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson Jr. on Wednesday signed an order approving the settlement in the class-action case.

Attorney Morgan “Chip” Welch said Thursday that people in the class applied to drive for Wal-Mart between 2001 and 2008 and were turned away.

Wal-Mart would not comment beyond a Feb. 20 news release it issued when the settlement proposal was announced. The company denied any unlawful discrimination and said resolving the case would be in Wal-Mart’s best interest.

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