An Alabama man walked away with a $7.5 million payout after he tripped and fell in a Walmart store. The fall broke his hip, among other injuries.
Henry Walker, who lives in Phenix City, Alabama, was hurt in 2015 while he was reaching for a watermelon at his local store. The container for the fruit was on top of a pallet which wasn’t visible. Walker did not step on the wood but his foot slid into a side opening of the pallet. When he turned towards his cart, his stuck foot made him trip and fell.
The man later sued Walmart for negligence.
Shaun O’Hara, Walker’s attorney argued the top of the pallet wasn’t visible and several other customers in Walmart got their feet stuck in it too.
“You don’t expect to go into a grocery store walking fine on your two feet and come out on a stretcher,” O’Hara said.
Jurors viewed security footage of the store and saw that that was indeed the case and many other shoppers got their feet stuck in the side opening of the pallet as well.
Charles Gower, another one of Walker’s attorneys, stated that Walmart should have made sure the pallet was covered so it couldn’t entangle in customers’ feet.
In a Wednesday court filing, the retail giant said the display was not dangerous and any negligence was Walker’s fault. However, the jury ruled in favor of both of Walker’s claim: negligence and wantonness. According to the negligence claim, Walmart did not take care of the safety of the customers who wanted watermelon from that display. Regarding the wantonness claim, the lawsuit said the store should have known the pallet could be a possible cause of injury.
As a result, the shopper was awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damage and $5 million in punitive damage, according to AL.com.
However, Walmart has not yet finished fighting. The store’s spokesperson Randy Hargrove said the company thinks Walker was awarded too much money and they plan to appeal the decision.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Sarah Conard