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LOS ANGELES-In an unusual move, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has filed a lawsuit against a Southern California-based church that often sets up tables and asks for donations in front of the chain’s stores.

The new lawsuit technically is a consolidation of 10 previous suits that Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has filed against the 1,000-member Missionary Church of the Disciples of Jesus Christ. The consolidated case will be heard in a San Bernardino County Superior Court, although no trial date has been set.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson says the chain is simply trying to get the church to obey the soliciting rules that the company requires all donation- and petition-gatherers to follow. Those rules spell out where such individuals and groups must stand when on Wal-Mart property, and where their tables may be placed.

Though a spokesperson for LA County-based Missionary Church wasn’t available for comment, a volunteer for the church says it gathers about $15,000 a month in donations to help the poor.

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