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A federal judge has been asked by attorneys for former Kmart Corp. chairman and chief executive Charles Conaway and other former and current company officials to dismiss a lawsuit against their clients that endeavors to hold them responsible for the company's collapse.

The suit has been filed on behalf of company employees who held Kmart stock in their retirement plans, stock that became worthless when the company went into bankruptcy protection and then issued new stock when it emerged from Chapter 11.

Conaway and several others have been named in a number of shareholder lawsuits.

The judge in the case is expected to make a decision in about a week.

At the same time as Kmart was looking to get off the hook in the shareholder suits, it was filing a suit to recover $49 million that it said it paid Handleman Co. at the beginning of its bankruptcy in order to obligate the company to continue providing product.

Handleman says it is not required to repay the money now that Kmart is out of bankruptcy.
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