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99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart

by

Lewis L. Laska

Member of the Nashville, Tennessee Bar

Published by the

Wal-Mart Litigation Project
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
Fax: (615) 255-6289
www.wal-martlitigation.com

Copyright © Lewis L. Laska 1999, 2009


Introduction


This compilation, 99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart, is the first effort of the Wal-Mart Litigation Project. This collection of cases is the first of its kind - an attempt to publish a cross-section of plaintiff-favorable results against the nation's largest retailer.

The purpose of 99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart is to educate plaintiffs' lawyers about cases similar to their own against Wal-Mart and facilitate communication between plaintiffs' lawyers on issues of discovery, law and litigation tactics.

Wal-Mart is sued two to five times each day somewhere in the United States. These cases involve slip-and-falls, falling merchandise, and false imprisonment/malicious prosecution. They also involve suits brought by employees alleging various kinds of discrimination. Also, the company is sued on a wide range of matters such as pharmacy malpractice, defective products, broken contracts with vendors, and copyright violations.

The following is a representative sample of lawsuits involving Wal-Mart.

99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart

(As of September 1999)



Trip Over Trailer Hitch Ends Heart Surgeon's Career -- $3.96 Million Michigan Award

Plaintiff, a 54-year-old heart surgeon, tripped over the tongue of a trailer hitch while carrying a bulk package of paper towels in the parking lot of a Sam's Club. He suffered a spinal injury, which caused his hands to shake continually. The accident ended his career.

Plaintiff alleged that Sam's Club should have marked the trailer hitch with a cone.

The jury returned a $5.28 million verdict, but reduced the award by 25 percent for comparative negligence.

Charles Butler v. Wal-Mart, Kalamazoo Co. (MI) Circuit Court No.______.


Unknown Assailant Shoots Michigan Landscaper in Wal-Mart Parking Lot -- $375,000 Michigan Award.

Plaintiff, a 45-year-old landscaper, developed a speech impediment, lost his sense of smell, and injured his arm, ankle and knee when an unknown assailant shot him in a Wal-Mart parking lot. It was not an error to exclude reports of crimes committed in the vicinity of a larger regional retail center in the same city. It was also not an error to exclude the criminal assailant from the verdict form.

The jury returned a verdict of $1,500,000. It found Wal-Mart responsible for 25 percent of the verdict and the management company responsible for 25 percent. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the verdict.

Wal-Mart v. Lawrence Howard McDonald, 705 So.2d 560 (Fla 1997); 676 So.2d 12 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1996) Jeffrey B. Morris and Daniel A. Smith, Jacksonville, FL for plaintiff. Jeffrey P. Gill, Pensacola, FL; Richard A. Sherman, Rosemary B. Wilder, Fort Lauderdale, FL and Noah H. Jenerette, Jacksonville, FL for Wal-Mart.


Illinois Woman Injures Back, Arm and Hand After Slipping on Snow and Ice on Wal-Mart Sidewalk -- $117,000 Illinois Award

Plaintiff suffered a herniated disc and pain in her arm and hand when she fell after slipping on ice and snow that accumulated on the sidewalk outside a Wal-Mart store. The jury awarded plaintiff $117,000.

Deborah Reagan v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, Case No. 94-CV-902. Jack A. Strellis for plaintiff. James DeFranco for Wal-Mart.


Utah Woman Develops Thoracic Outlet Syndrome After Falling in Wal-Mart Parking Lot -- $281,790 Utah Award

Plaintiff, a thirty-one year old administrative assistant, suffered from herniated cervical discs and developed thoracic outlet syndrome when she fell after tripping over a metal rod in the parking lot of a Sam's Club. Plaintiff had to have some of her ribs surgically removed because of the thoracic outlet syndrome. Wal-Mart maintained that plaintiff's injuries could not have resulted from her fall. The jury returned a $320,542 verdict, but reduced the award by seven percent for comparative negligence.

Stevenett v. Wal-Mart, Salt Lake County, Utah District Court, Case No. 960902302. G. Eric Nielson, Salt Lake City, UT for plaintiff. Robert G. Gilchrist, Salt Lake City, UT for Wal- Mart.


Louisiana Woman Injures Hands, Elbows and Knees in Fall on Concrete Slab Near Store Entrance -- Appeals Court Affirms $40,877.53 Award

Plaintiff injured her hands, elbows and knees when she fell after tripping on a concrete slab near the entrance to a Wal-Mart store. The slab was elevated 0.5 inches higher than the adjoining slab. Plaintiff testified that she was paying attention to the automobiles in the parking lot instead of looking where she was walking. The jury returned a $47,877.53 verdict, but reduced the award by 10 percent for comparative negligence. The appeals court affirmed the jury verdict.

Lois J. Nichols v. Wal-Mart, 698 So. 2d 53 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1997). Robert Lawrence Beck Jr. and Eugene A. Ledet Jr., Alexandria, LA for plaintiff. James Dey Kirk, Alexandria, LA for Wal-Mart.


Seventy-Seven Year-Old Woman Breaks Hip After Tripping on Ridge in Entry Ramp -- Texas Supreme Court Reverses $400,000 Punitive Damages Award, Affirms $180,000 Compensatory Award

Plaintiff, age 77, broke her hip when she fell after tripping on a ridge where an entry ramp to a Sam's Club was 5/8 of an inch higher than the parking lot. Although the area outside the store officially belonged to the lessor, Sam's built the ramp and controlled the surrounding area as if it were its own. No other stores used the ramp.

Evidence indicated that Sam's employees knew the surface was not level. Plaintiff was the first person to trip and fall over the ridge. It was not an error to introduce evidence of the gross sales at the store for the month of the incident and the following month. It was a harmless error, if an error at all, for the court to supply a dictionary to the jury during the deliberations.

The jury awarded plaintiff $285,000 in compensatory damages and $400,000 in punitive damages. It also awarded plaintiff's husband $105,000. The trial court reduced plaintiff's compensatory damages award by $100,000 on the grounds that the jury had awarded it for loss of consortium.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the punitive damages award on the grounds that plaintiffs failed to prove gross negligence, but affirmed the adjusted compensatory damages award.

Wal-Mart v. Sarah Alexander, 868 W.2d 322 (Tex. 1993); 827 S.W. 2d (Tex. Appl.-- Corpus Christi 1992). Melchor Chavez, Brownsville, TX and Jeffrey L. Jackson, San Benito, TX for plaintiffs. J. Preston Wrotenbery, Houston, TX; David R. McAtee and Kelly Crawford, Dallas, TX for Wal-Mart.


Secretary Suffers Ulnar Nerve Entrapment After Sheet of Ice Falls from Roof of a Wal-Mart Store and Hits Her -- $600,000 New York Award

Plaintiff, a 34-year-old medical secretary, required ulnar transpositon surgery for ulnar nerve entrapment on her dominant left arm after a sheet of ice fell from the roof of a Wal-Mart store and struck her. The injury cost plaintiff the use of her hand and prevented her from returning to work.

Plaintiff alleged that another sheet of ice had fallen a few minutes before the one that struck her. Plaintiff also contended that the roof of the building was improperly designed.

Wal-Mart claimed that its employees told plaintiff to stay inside the store after seeing the first piece of ice fall, but plaintiff failed to heed the warning. Wal-Mart also contended that the roof was properly designed.

The jury awarded plaintiff $600,000.

DiGennaro v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, Case 95- CV-0176. Jordan D. Hecht, New York, NY for plaintiff. Richard C. Nigro, Mineola, NY for Wal-Mart.


Connecticut Woman Injures Spine When Struck by Automatic Entrance Door -- Second Circuit Reverses Judgment as a Matter of Law for Wal-Mart, Reinstates $212,030 Jury Award for Plaintiff

Plaintiff injured her spine when the store's automatic entrance door struck her in the back. A store employee allegedly instructed plaintiff to stand behind the door. The jury returned a $302,900 verdict for plaintiff, but reduced the award by 30 percent for comparative negligence. After the trial court granted Wal-Mart's post-verdict motion for judgment as a matter of law, the Second Circuit reversed the trial court and reinstated the jury's verdict for plaintiff.

Sandra Chylinski v. Wal-Mart, 150 F.3d 214 (2nd Cir. 1998). Michael J. Walsh, Hartford, CT for plaintiff. Richard F. Waring and Thomas J. Rechen, Hartford, CT for Wal- Mart.


Tennessee Woman Breaks Nose When Automatic Door Strikes Her Face -- $31,500 Verdict

Plaintiff required a rhinoplasty to repair a broken nose after the store's automatic door struck her in the face. Plaintiff contended that Wal-Mart maintained and adjusted the doors improperly. Wal-Mart contended that plaintiff caused the doors to react when she attempted to talk to a Salvation Army representative. The jury returned a $35,000 verdict, but reduced the award by 10 percent for comparative negligence.

Murphy v. Wal-Mart, Washington County (TN) Circuit Court, Case No. 16189. J. David Miller, Kingsport, TN for plaintiff. Gene Gaby, Greeneville, TN for Wal-Mart.


Missouri Woman Injures Neck After Tripping on Frozen Floor Mat -- Appeals Court Affirms $275,000 Award

Plaintiff, age 49, injured her neck when she fell after tripping on a floor mat in the vestibule of the Wal-Mart store. A combination of moisture tracked into the store and cold weather caused the mat to freeze so that it no longer laid flat. Before plaintiff fell, an observer saw two or three people slip on the floor mat and told the store's assistant manager about the problem. A Wal-Mart training video tape identified floor mats as a "big problem" of safety. It was not an error for the court to refuse to instruct the jury that corporations should be entitled to the same fair trial as a private individual. The appeals court affirmed the jury's $275,000 award.

Barbara A. Preston v. Wal-Mart, 923 S.W.2d 426 (Mo.App. W.D. 1996). John E. Turner, Kansas City, MO for plaintiff. Kevin R. Locke, Kansas City, MO for Wal-Mart.


Seventy-Seven Year-Old Floral Arranger Sprains Thumb and Develops Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy After Falling Over Mat in Wal-Mart Entrance -- $400,000 Texas Verdict

Plaintiff, a 77-year-old part-time floral arranger, sprained her thumb and developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy when she fell after tripping on an improperly maintained mat. Plaintiff could not return to her job or care for herself. A Texas jury awarded plaintiff $400,000.

Deggs v. Wal-Mart, Jefferson Country (TX) District Court, Case No. B-145, 449. Paul F. Ferguson Jr., Beaumont, TX for plaintiff. Lee K. Scuchart, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Woman Injures Shoulder and Back in Slip and Fall on Puddle of Water at Wal-Mart Exit -- Arkansas Supreme Court Affirms $20,973 Award

Plaintiff injured her shoulder and lumbar spine when she fell after slipping on a puddle of water that was located between the checkout counter and the exit door. When plaintiff returned to the store to report the accident "minutes" after her fall, the water was still on the floor. It was not an error to reject Wal-Mart's proposed jury instructions when an Arkansas Model Instructions instruction covering the same subject matter was on point.

The jury awarded plaintiff $20,973 for medical expenses and the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the award.

Wal-Mart v. Edith Ann Kelton, 806 S.W.2d 373 (Ark.1991). Stephen M. Sharum, Fort Smith, AR for plaintiffs. Ben Core, Fort Smith, AR for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Man Injures Shoulder After Slipping on Unknown Liquid Substance -- Appeals Court Affirms $23,000 General Damages Award

Plaintiff required rotator-cuff surgery when he fell on his right shoulder after slipping on an unspecified liquid substance on the floor of the store. After the accident, the plaintiff's pants leg was wet, and the Wal-Mart accident report indicated that "[t]here was a puddle of water and he apparently slipped." It was raining on the day of the accident, the cashier was close to the accident area, and the customer service manager was in the general area.

The jury awarded plaintiff $23,000 in general damages, plus documented medical expenses. The appeals court affirmed the award.

Henry Kennedy v. Wal-Mart, 715 So.2d 593 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1998). Curtis Rodney Harrington, Notchitoches, LA for plaintiff. Vicki C. Warner, Shreveport, LA for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Man Injures Knee and Ankle After Slipping on Tracked-In Water -- Appeals Court Affirms $37,405.50 Award

Plaintiff injured his left knee and ankle when he slipped after entering a Wal-Mart store. It was raining. Wal-Mart failed to follow its "written rainy day procedure" of placing additional floor mats in the entrance area. It was not an error for the trial court to allow the testimony of a postal worker who also slipped that day.

The trial judge awarded plaintiff $36,405.50 for his damages and awarded plaintiff's wife $1,000 for loss of consortium. The appeals court affirmed the awards.

Edwin L. Barton Sr. v. Wal-Mart, 704 So.2d 363 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1997). Philip Gardiner Hunter, Alexandria, LA for plaintiffs. James Dey Kirk, Alexandria, LA for Wal- Mart.


Florida Woman Suffers Rotary Dislocation of Neck and Temporomandibular Injury After Slipping on Body Shampoo in Wal-Mart Store -- $1,300,889.95 Florida Award

Plaintiff, a 29-year-old parking lot attendant, suffered a rotary dislocation of her neck and a temporomandibular injury when she fell after slipping on body shampoo on the floor of the store. Plaintiff stepped backwards onto the shampoo, slipped, and hit her head on the bottom shelf. Wal-Mart claimed that two of its employees checked the aisle five minutes before the accident and found that it was clean. The testimony at trial, however, indicated that much more time had elapsed since the most recent inspection. In May 1999, the jury awarded plaintiff $371,389.95 for past medical expenses, $148,500 for future medical expenses, $17,000 for past lost earnings, $467,000 for past pain and suffering, and $297,000 for future pain and suffering.

Ibis Henderson v. Wal-Mart, Broward Co. (FL), Case No. 96-11429 18. Evan Rosen and Ronald Rosen, Hollywood, FL for plaintiff. Jeffrey Gill, Pensacola, FL for Wal-Mart.


Texas Plaintiff Injures Back and Soft Tissue in Neck After Slipping on Water in Aisle -- $391,000 Award

Plaintiff injured his back and the soft tissue in his neck when he fell after slipping on water that was on the aisle floor. The jury awarded plaintiff $391,000.

Rebecca Tinsley v. Walt-Mart, Jefferson County (TX) District Court, 58th District, Case No. A-148-700. Brent W. Coon for plaintiff. Alan N. Magenheim, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


42-Year-Old Female Plaintiff Suffers Bulging Disc After Slipping on Shampoo Spill -- $76,000 Florida Award

Plaintiff, age 42, suffered a bulging disc when she fell after slipping on shampoo that spilled on the aisle floor. The jury awarded plaintiff $76,000.

Leticia Gutierrez v. Wal-Mart, Dade County (FL) Circuit Court, Case No. 96-9856 CA 09. Donald Jones and Melvin C. Alldredge, Miami, FL for plaintiff. Christopher Johnson, Pensacola, FL for Wal-Mart.


Secretary Develops Chronic Bursitis After Slipping on Spilled Car Cleaner -- $390,000 Georgia Award

Plaintiff, a secretary, suffered a fractured sacrum when she fell after slipping on car cleaner in the store's automotive aisle. The injury caused plaintiff to develop chronic bursitis, which left her unable to sit for long periods of time. Wal-Mart claimed that a safety cone was present in the aisle, but the store incident report did not mention a warning cone. The jury awarded plaintiff $350,000 and awarded her husband $40,000 for loss of consortium.

Barbara Vining v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Case No.____________. Clay D. Land and Jerry A. Buchanan, Columbus, GA for plaintiffs. Anthony A. Rowell, Atlanta, GA for Wal-Mart.


Housekeeper Tears Meniscus After Slipping on Grease at Wal-Mart Repair Garage -- $82,700 Louisiana Verdict

Plaintiff, a 49-year-old housekeeper, tore her meniscus and aggravated her arthritis when she fell after slipping on grease on the floor of the store's automobile repair garage. Wal-Mart asserted that plaintiff should have been aware of her surroundings. The jury awarded plaintiff $82,700.

Miller v. Wal-Mart, Baton Rouge (LA) District Court. William S. Neblett, Alexandria, LA for plaintiff. Phillip A. Fontenot and Stacey Knight, Lafayette, LA for Wal-Mart.


California Teacher Requires Hip Surgery After Slipping on Liquid Soap -- $839,500 California Award

Plaintiff, a 45-year-old special education teacher, fractured her L-4, and tore the labrum of her right hip, chondromalacia of her left patella and piriformis muscle when she fell after slipping on clear liquid soap on the aisle floor. Plaintiff required hip surgery and demonstrated that she would need knee surgery in the future. Although Wal-Mart claimed that plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to recognize the dangerous condition, the store's manager testified that the area was in a hazardous condition. The jury awarded plaintiff $839,500.87.

Deborah Norwood v. Wal-Mart, Riverside County (CA) Superior Court, Case No. 72911. James W. Parkinson, Palm Desert, CA for plaintiff. Barry C. Snyder, Santa Barbara, CA for Wal-Mart.


Missouri Plaintiff Injures Leg After Slipping on Liquid Soap -- Seventh Circuit Affirms $18,750 Award

Plaintiff injured her leg when she fell after slipping on liquid soap on the aisle floor. No leaking container was found. The jury awarded plaintiff $18,750. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the award.

Dolores Howard v. Wal-Mart, 160 F.3d 358 (7th Cir. 1998). Joan M. Lockwood, St. Louis, MO for plaintiff. James E. DeFranco, Belleville, IL for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Woman Injures Knee and Hand After Slipping on Popcorn in Store Aisle -- Appeals Court Affirms $6,500 General Damages Award, Reduces $713.50 Special Damages Award to $557.50

Plaintiff severely injured the soft tissue in her hand and aggravated a prior knee injury when she fell after slipping on some popcorn on the aisle floor. Plaintiff fell four or five feet from the pharmacy counter; at least two store employees had a clear view of the aisle at the time.

The trial judge awarded plaintiff $6,500 for general damages and $713.50 for special damages. The appeals court affirmed the general damages award, but reduced the special damages award to $557.50 because some of the physician visits that the court used in the calculation of special damages had no relationship to the injuries sustained in the store.

Virginia Cobb v. Wal-Mart. 624 So.2d 5 (La.App. 5 Cir. 1993). Pierre F. Guadin Jr., Gretna, LA for plaintiff. Frederick R. Campbell and Lisa Miley Geary, Metairie, LA for Wal-Mart.


Texas Woman Injured After Slipping on Ice Cubes and Water -- Appeals Court Affirms $22,172.74 Award

Plaintiff suffered an unspecified injury when she fell after slipping on ice cubes and water on the floor of the store. The store sold fountain drinks at its snack bar. The store employees did not prevent customers from carrying food and drinks while shopping. The store's safety manual emphasized that all store employees were responsible for maintaining safe floors. The store conducted only three routine "safety sweeps" of the floor each day.

The jury awarded plaintiff $22,172.74 for physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment and medical care. The appeals court affirmed the award.

Wal-Mart v. Lorene Rangel, 966 S.W.2d 199 (Tex.App.--Fort Worth 1998). Susan Taylor, Sandra Cook and Bryan Pope, Dallas, TX for plaintiff. David R. Work and Bobby G. Pryor, Dallas, TX for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Woman Injures Knee, Neck and Shoulder After Slipping on Smashed French Fry in Wal-Mart Aisle -- Appeals Court Affirms $3,417.26 Award

Plaintiff injured her knee, neck and shoulder when she fell after slipping on a smashed french fry on the aisle floor. Plaintiff was maneuvering a recently purchased bicycle at the time of the injury. Wal-Mart lacked a policy preventing its customers from taking food into the store. The area around the smashed french fry was black, as if carts had been pushed around it. A private investigator claimed that he visited the accident area several times and observed Wal-Mart employees ignoring spilled food and beverages.

The jury returned a $4,556.35 verdict for plaintiff, but reduced the award by 25 percent for comparative negligence. The appeals court affirmed the award.

Tanya Beninate v. Wal-Mart, 704 So.2d 851 (La.App. 5 Cir. 1997). G. Michael Grosz III and Peyton B. Burkhalter, Gretna, LA for plaintiff. I. Rene Derojas, Metairie, LA for Wal-Mart.


Woman Injures Hip, Neck, Shoulder and Leg After Slipping on Unknown Substance on Aisle Floor -- Louisiana General Damages Award Increased from $11,000 to $35,000

Plaintiff injured her hip, neck, shoulder and leg when she fell after slipping on an unknown substance on the aisle floor. Plaintiff claimed that she was looking straight ahead when she slipped and was not distracted by merchandise on the shelves. Plaintiff was familiar with the store. Plaintiff provided evidence that the injuries significantly altered her quality of life. Plaintiff's husband failed to establish that his wife's injury caused him specific damages. The appeals court increased the jury's general damages award from $11,000 to $35,000 and affirmed the verdict apportioning 45 percent of the fault to plaintiff and 55 percent to Wal-Mart.

Susie Peck v. Wal-Mart, 682 So.2d 974 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1996). Earl B. Taylor and Laura T. Marler, Opelousas, LA for the plaintiffs. Philip Andre Fontenot, Lafayette, LA for Wal-Mart.


Kentucky Man Injures Knee After Slipping on Unknown Substance in Wal-Mart Garden Center -- Appeals Court Affirms $44,316.75 Award

Plaintiff injured his knee when he fell after slipping on an unknown black substance or a "wet and nasty" piece of cardboard on the floor of the Wal-Mart's garden center. Plants were stacked in the aisle and water drained into the aisle from the roof.

The jury returned a verdict of $2,516 for past medical expenses and $56,573 for past and future pain and suffering, but reduced the award by 25 percent for comparative negligence. The appeals court affirmed the award.

Wal-Mart v. Bobby Lawson, 984 S.W.2d 488 (Ky.App. 1998). Will T. Scott, Pikeville, KY for plaintiff. Jason E. Williams, London, KY for Wal-Mart.


Missouri Man Suffers Herniated Disc After Slipping on Spilled Dog Food in Pet Food Aisle -- $540,000 Missouri Award

Plaintiff, age 38, suffered a herniated disc at T11-12 when he fell after slipping on spilled dog food that was in the pet food aisle of the defendant store. Plaintiff could not return to work after the injury. Plaintiff contended that Wal-Mart failed to clean the area, barricade it, or warn its customers of the danger. The jury returned a verdict of $660,000, but reduced the award by 20 percent for comparative negligence.

Dennis Emery v. Wal-Mart, 976 S.W.2d 438 (Mo.1998). Thomas A. Connelly, St. Louis, MO for plaintiff. Jeffry Thompson, St. Louis, MO for Wal-Mart.


Twenty-Four-Year-Old Man Suffers Multiple Injuries After Tripping Over Children's Rocking Chairs at the End of a Store Aisle -- Louisiana Supreme Court Reduces Award from $100,033.57 to $73,525.18

Plaintiff, age 24, lacerated his forehead, suffered blackouts and dizziness, strained or sprained his neck, shoulder and back, and injured his jaw when he fell after tripping on three red 1.5-foot-high children's rocking chairs that were located at the end of a store aisle. A store employee who passed down the aisle 5-15 minutes before the accident saw two rocking chairs on the floor and put them back on the shelf. One chair was lying on its back, with only its spindle rungs in view. Plaintiff indicated that he might need future medical assistance.

The jury awarded plaintiff $90,033.57 for damages and awarded plaintiff's wife $10,000 for loss of consortium. Although the appeals court reversed the jury's $5,000 award for future medical expenses, the Louisiana Supreme Court restored the award to $2,500. The Supreme Court reduced plaintiff's remaining $88,033.57 damages award and plaintiff's wife's $10,000 award by 25 percent for contributory negligence.

Donald Kimble v. Wal-Mart, 539 So.2d 1212 (La. 1989); 527 So.2d 1163 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1988). John L. Olvier, Sunset, LA for plaintiffs. Frank A. Flynn, Lafayette, LA for Wal-Mart.


Idaho Shopper Requires Knee and Shoulder Surgery After Slipping on Plastic Hanger -- $33,000 Idaho Award

Plaintiff injured her knees and shoulders when she fell after slipping on a plastic hanger on the aisle floor. The jury awarded plaintiff $33,000.

Nancy Cathey v. Wal-Mart, Bonneville (ID) Judicial District, 7th District, Case No. CV- 96-5266. Dennis R. Petersen for plaintiff. C. Timothy Hopkins for Wal-Mart.


Texas Man Knocked Unconscious After Tripping on Vacuum Cleaner Cord Left in Aisle -- $30,000 Texas Award

Plaintiff was rendered unconscious when he hit his head on the store's floor after tripping on a vacuum cleaner cord left in the store's aisle. Additionally, plaintiff suffered a herniated disc. The jury awarded plaintiff $30,000.

David Abney v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Case No. 96-CV-729. John Werner for plaintiff. Alan Magenheim, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Missouri Shopper Suffers Herniated Disc After Tripping Over Two-Wheel Dolly in Store Aisle -- $45,000 Missouri Award

Plaintiff, age 56, suffered a herniated disc at L5-S1 when he fell after tripping over a two-wheel dolly in the store aisle. Plaintiff's wife added a claim for loss of consortium. Wal-Mart maintained that the dolly was in plain view and that plaintiff failed to pay attention to his surroundings. The jury returned a verdict of $150,000, but reduced the award by 70 percent for comparative negligence. Plaintiff's wife received nothing for her claim.

Hastings v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Case No,. 94-CV-0830. Franklin T. Thackery and Daniel L. Duncan, St. Joseph, MO for plaintiffs. Kevin R. Locke, Kansas City, MO for Wal-Mart.


Air Force Aero-Medic/Airman Suffers Severe Closed Head Injury After Being Hit by Falling Merchandise -- $4 Million Nevada Award

Plaintiff, a 26-year-old married Air Force aero-medic/airman, suffered from intractable seizures and developed a closed-head injury when a "wall" of merchandise that the store stocked on shelving above him collapsed and caused him to hit his head on the store's floor. The closed-head injury manifested itself in cognitive impairment, organic mood disorder and epilepsy. The Air Force discharged plaintiff for mental incompetence.

Plaintiff claimed that Wal-Mart was aware of other incidents resulting from stacking merchandise on risers in public areas. Wal-Mart claimed that its stores have 52 million visitors per week and that the chances that a person in a store would be injured by falling merchandise are one in 500,000. The jury awarded plaintiff $4 million.

Shafer v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, Case No. 95-CV-650. James J. Murphy and Frank T. Pasternak, Milwaukee, WI for plaintiff. Philip Hymanson and J. Christopher Jorgenson, Las Vegas, NV for Wal-Mart.


Seventy-Five-Year-Old Indiana Man Injures Foot While Attempting To Avoid Falling Merchandise -- Appeals Court Affirms $50,000 Award

Plaintiff, a 75-year-old retired man, injured his foot when he hit it on a display while attempting to avoid a falling stack of trunks. The store failed to establish that plaintiff bumped or touched the stack of trunks. While he had the flu, plaintiff stopped taking the Motrin that his doctor prescribed for the pain from the accident, but he resumed taking it after he recovered. Plaintiff introduced evidence that he was incapacitated for two months following the injury, that the injury was permanent, that surgery was recommended, that he was unable to hunt and fish as he had before the accident, and that his marriage had been "pretty rough" since the injury.

It was not an error to instruct the jury that Wal-Mart was charged with actual knowledge of a dangerous condition created by its own act, since a store employee had stacked the trunks. The jury awarded plaintiff $50,000. The appeals court affirmed the award.

Wal-Mart v. Delmar E. Blaylock, 591 N.E.2d 624 (Ind.App. 3 Dist. 1992). Melissa S. Mattingly, Evansville, IN for plaintiff. Robert L. Simpkins, Evansville, IN for Wal-Mart.


Missouri Woman Suffers Herniated Disc and Arm, Leg and Hand Injuries After Being Hit by Falling Merchandise -- $337,500 Award

Plaintiff suffered a herniated disc and injuries to her arms, legs and right hand when boxes fell from an overhead display and hit her. Between the time of the incident and trial, plaintiff was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The appeals court ruled that it was not an error for plaintiff to introduce evidence of the interaction of her injuries with her multiple sclerosis. The appeals court affirmed the jury's $337,000 award.

Betty Shannon v. Wal-Mart, 974 S.W.2d 588 (MO. App. W.D. 1998). John Turner, Kansas City, MO for plaintiff. Michael Jerde, Kansas City, MO for Wal-Mart.


Clerical Worker Suffers Brain Damage After Being Hit by Falling Paint Cans -- $606,000 Arizona Award

Plaintiff, a clerical worker, suffered brain damage after four one-gallon paint cans fell from the store's shelf and hit her on the head. The brain damage impaired plaintiff's memory and executive function skills, and caused anxiety and panic attacks. Plaintiff alleged that the shelving was unstable and that Wal-Mart should not have stacked the cans four-high. Wal-Mart contended that plaintiff must have turned one of the cans.

After the trial court dismissed plaintiff's res ipsa loquitur claim, the jury returned a $674,430.23 verdict on the gross negligence claim, but reduced the award by 10 percent for comparative negligence.

Terri Sholl v. Wal-Mart, Brazoria Co. (TX), 149th District Court, Case No. 94M1271. Gordon E. Davenport, Alvin, TX for plaintiff. Alan N. Magenheim, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Kansas Shopper Suffers Disc Damage After Being Hit by Box Containing Baby Crib -- $179,690 Award

Plaintiff aggravated a bulging disc, and suffered a cervical strain and a head contusion after a box containing a baby crib fell from the shelf and hit him. Wal-Mart alleged that plaintiff was not paying proper attention to his surroundings. The jury awarded plaintiff $179,000.

Renyer v. Wal-Mart, Shawnee (KS) District Court, Case No. 92-CV-1596. B. Keith Kocher, Topeka, KS for plaintiff. E. Wayne Taff and R. Michael Steele, Kansas City, KS for Wal-Mart.


Two Pallets of Soft Drink Cans Fall on Customer -- $200,000 Texas Punitive Damage Award Reduced to $100,000, Remainder of Judgment for Plaintiff Affirmed

Plaintiff suffered unspecified injuries when two pallets containing soft drink cans fell on her in a Sam's Club. The pallets were not shrink-wrapped and/or shelved or tied to reduce the risk of falling. Plaintiff's injuries prevented her from returning to her job at a printing company. Her physicians claimed that she could only perform light work.

The appeals court ruled that the trial court was not obligated to ask the jury to find whether an unreasonable risk of harm existed; it was also not obligated to define "unreasonable risk of harm". It was not an error to admit hearsay testimony regarding alleged statements by two Sam's Club employees. It was not an error to submit jury instructions on gross negligence and exemplary damages. It was not an error for the trial court to order a remittitur of $100,000 of the $200,000 punitive damage award, since evidence suggested that Sam's had safety programs and did not intend to injure the plaintiff. It was not an error to exclude hearsay evidence that a Pepsi vendor informed Wal- Mart's district manager that stacking the pallets three high was satisfactory.

The appeals court affirmed the judgment for plaintiff. Wal-Mart v. Mary Jo Berry, 833 S.W.2d 587 (Tex.App.Texarkana 1992). Joe D. Gregory, Grapevine, TX for plaintiff. David R. McAtee, Kelly M. Crawford and Joe Horlen, Dallas, TX for Wal-Mart.


Woman Suffers Unspecified Injuries After Falling Box Hits Her -- Texas Appeals Court Affirms $500,000 Award

Plaintiff suffered an unspecified injury when a box fell from a shelf above her and hit her on the head. A customer on the other side of the shelf allegedly caused the box to fall by moving a box on his side. The shelf on plaintiff's side did not have a lip for preventing the merchandise from falling.

It was not an error to introduce evidence of an OSHA standard. It was also not an error to introduce evidence of a similar accident at another store, since the accident was relevant to the knowledge of plaintiff's expert.

The jury awarded plaintiff $500,000. The appeals court affirmed the award.

Wal-Mart v. Bettye Jean Seale, 904 S.W.2d 718 (Tex.App.-- San Antonio 1995). Curtis L. Cukjati, Jeffrey A. Hiller and Pat Maloney Jr., San Antonio, TX for plaintiff. J. Preston Wrotenbery and Tina Snelling, Houston, TX and Gerald Zwernemann, San Antonio, TX for Wal-Mart.


Alabama Woman Suffers Nerve Damage to Brain After Falling Merchandise Hits Her On Head -- Judgment for Plaintiff on Negligence Claim Affirmed, Judgment for Plaintiff on Wantonness Claim Reversed

Plaintiff suffered nerve damage to her brain after a footlocker fell from the top shelf and hit her on the head. Wal-Mart maintained that many safety procedures were in place to protect customers and that they were unaware that this kind of accident was likely to happen.

It was not an error to award damages for mental anguish when the plaintiff suffered a head injury that required her to consult with various physicians on several occasions. It was also not an error to exclude Wal-Mart's evidence on the number of customers and transactions at Alabama Wal-Mart stores.

The jury awarded plaintiff $100,000 in compensatory damages on the negligence claim and $175,000 in punitive damages on the wantonness claim. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the compensatory damages award, but reversed the punitive damages award.

Wal-Mart v. Elizabeth Thompson, 726 So.2d 651 (Ala.1998). William L. Utsey, Butler, AL and Wyman O. Gilmore Jr., Grove Hill, AL for plaintiff. Bradley R. Byrne, K.W. Michael Chambers and R. Scott Hetrick, Mobile, AL for Wal-Mart.


Courier Suffers Nerve Damage and Hernia After Being Hit by Falling 4"x4" -- Pennsylvania Federal Court Awards $1,748,000

Plaintiff, a 28-year-old delivery courier, suffered nerve damage in his shoulder and a hernia after a 16-foot-long piece of four-by-four lumber fell and struck his shoulder. Despite three orthopedic surgeries, plaintiff could not return to his old job and had to accept a lower paying light-duty position. Wal-Mart asserted that the incident never occurred or that plaintiff knocked the lumber over as he ran past it while pulling a dolly. Wal-Mart also alleged that plaintiff had pre-existing medical conditions.

The jury returned a verdict of $235,000, but reduced the award by 24 percent for comparative negligence. Subsequently, the Third Circuit reversed that award because the trial court failed to charge on individual items of damages. A second trial yielded a $2 million verdict for plaintiff and a $300,000 verdict for plaintiff's wife, again with a 24 percent reduction for comparative negligence. The Third Circuit affirmed the award.

William Fichter v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 95-CV-228. Michael J. Colarusso, Pittsburgh, PA for plaintiffs. Romel L. Nicholas, Pittsburgh, PA for Wal-Mart.


Business Owner Suffers Closed Head Injury After Being Hit by Falling Ice Augers -- $3,327,243 Colorado Award

Plaintiff, a 43-year-old HVAC business owner, suffered a closed head injury when two 40-pound boxes that contained ice augers fell and struck him on the head, neck and chest. Plaintiff's injury caused short-term memory loss, loss of visual learning ability and permanent psychological injures. The boxes were stacked on a top shelf, about ten feet above the floor. When the boxes fell on plaintiff, a store employee was on the top step of a six-foot wooden stepladder to retrieve one of the augers for plaintiff..

Plaintiff asserted that Wal-Mart failed to follow its own policy of requiring that heavy merchandise be stored on the bottom shelves. Plaintiff also contended that Wal-Mart knew, because of 17,000 falling merchandise incidents in the past five years, that stacking merchandise at that height was dangerous.

The jury awarded plaintiff $3,027,243. It also awarded plaintiff's wife $300,000 for emotional distress.

Scharrel v. Wal-Mart Stores, Denver Co.(CO) District Court, Case No. 94-CV- 2734. Jeffrey A. Hyman, Richard I. Brown and Brenda M. Sauro, Denver, CO for plaintiffs. John P. Mitzner and Robert McCormick for Wal-Mart.


Shopper Injures Leg, Ankle, Hip, Lower Back and Shoulder After Tripping on Microwave Box -- $15,000 Missouri Award

Plaintiff, age 41, suffered soft tissue injuries to her right leg, ankle, hip, lower back and shoulder when she fell after tripping over a microwave box that was protruding into the aisle. Wal-Mart countered that plaintiff failed to keep a proper lookout. The jury returned a verdict for $150,000, but reduced the award by 90 percent for comparative negligence.

Whitaker v. Wal-Mart, St. Louis (MO) Circuit Court, Case No. 606830. Steven C. Gelber, Clayton, MO for plaintiff. Stefan J. Glynias, St. Louis, MO for Wal-Mart.


Ohio Woman Suffers Permanent Injury of Perineal Nerve When Wal-Mart Employee Lowers Pallet on Her Foot -- $112,000 Award

Plaintiff suffered a permanent injury of her perineal nerve when a Wal-Mart employee lowered a pallet onto her foot. The jury awarded plaintiff $112,000.

Sonja A. Stankoski v. Wal-Mart, Franklin County (OH) Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 96CVC-10-8015. Patrick H. Boggs for plaintiff. John A. Burgess for Wal-Mart.


College Student Loses Left Eye When Bow Malfunctions in Wal-Mart Store -- $1.3 Million Colorado Award

Plaintiff, an 18-year-old college student who was ten hours shy of obtaining his pilot's license, had to have his left eye surgically removed after an incident involving a bow at a Wal-Mart store. When plaintiff pulled the bow's string back without an arrow in place, the bow's nok set disengaged and struck plaintiff in the left eye. The young man's eye was damaged so severely it had to be surgically removed. Plaintiff claimed Wal- Mart should have disengaged the string to prevent customers from firing the bow without an arrow in place. He also contended the store should have warned and supervised its customers. Plaintiff filed a products liability claim against the bow's manufacturer, Golden Eagle Archery.

Plaintiff reached a $235,000 settlement with Golden Eagle. Subsequently, the jury awarded plaintiff $1.3 million against Wal-Mart.

Jaksch v. Wal-Mart Stores, Denver (CO) District Court, Case No. 92-CV-4026. Ronald S. Pred and Jon C. Boesen, Denver, CO for plaintiff.


Woman Suffers Multiple Injuries After Demonstration Gilder Chair Collapses -- $355,000 Colorado Award

Plaintiff injured her lumbro-sacral spine, cervical spine and shoulder and developed thoracic outlet syndrome when she attempted to sit on an oak glider chair placed on the sales floor as a demonstrator and the chair collapsed. Plaintiff had attempted to return to her job as a secretary, but her work aggravated her injuries and she had to retire. Plaintiff estimated that she lost $154,000 in earnings. Plaintiff's husband added a loss of consortium claim. The jury awarded plaintiff $355,000. It awarded plaintiff's husband nothing.

Deanna Hoffmeister v. Wal-Mart, Garfield County (CO) District Court, Case No. 95-CV-103. Martin H. Freeman, Aspen, CO for plaintiffs. Scott J. Eldredge for Wal-Mart.


Child Picks Up BB Gun in Wal-Mart Store and Shoots Georgia Customer -- Eleventh Circuit Affirms $75,467.59 Award

A child picked up a BB rifle in a Wal-Mart store and shot plaintiff in the back. The child was attempting to shoot at a target board in the back of the sporting goods department.

Wal-Mart displayed rifles next to ammunition, at a height between foot level and waist level. A store employee testified that unsupervised children had loaded and handled BB rifles or handled loaded rifles in the store several times prior to this incident. He also testified that employees had noticed loaded rifles and open BB-ammunition containers at the location of the rifle and ammunition display. Plaintiff asserted the store had failed to take precautions against the risk of misuse of rifles and ammunition before or after the incident. Plaintiff introduced evidence of customers being shot at other Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart refused settlement demands of $450 and $2,000; at trial, the store offered $2,000. In November 1995, the court denied Wal-Mart's motion for summary judgment. The court refused to allow plaintiff's expert to testify.

In March 1996, the jury awarded plaintiff $467.59 in medical expenses, $5,000 in personal injuries, and $70,000 in punitive damages. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the award in August 1997.

Gregory D. Rothman v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia at Atlanta, Case No. 94-CV-2719. James Alan Gober, Scott Ernest Taylor, and Henry R. Chambers, Atlanta, GA for plaintiff. Albert J. DeCusati, Atlanta, GA for Wal-Mart.


Man Tears Rotator Cuff When Metal Display Shelf Falls on Shoulder -- $26,500 Utah Award

Plaintiff suffered a partial rotator cuff tear when a metal display shelf fell from an aisle and hit his shoulder. The jury awarded plaintiff $26,500.

Conder v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Case No. 96-CV-00312. Craig V. Wentz, for plaintiff. Mitchel T. Rice, Salt Lake City, UT for Wal-Mart.


Three-Year-Old Child Injured by Falling Clothing Rack -- Texas Appeals Court Affirms Judgment for Plaintiffs

Plaintiff's three-year-old daughter suffered unspecified injuries when a clothing rack that she was playing on fell on her. The store had set the rack at its lowest position. The appeals court concluded that the trial court's application of res ipsa loquitur was a harmless error and affirmed the lower court's judgment for plaintiffs.

Wal-Mart v. Tony Lerma, 749 S.W.2d 572 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi 1988). John William Black, Brownsville, TX for plaintiffs. Jaime A. Drabek and Paul Q. O'Leary, Brownsville, TX and Jack McKinley, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Kansas Truck Driver Injured by Falling Clothing Rack -- $750,000 Award

Plaintiff, a 35-year-old truck driver, suffered lumbar strain after a clothing rack fell on him in the store. Wal-Mart contended that plaintiff exaggerated the extent of his injuries. The jury awarded plaintiff $750,000.

Allington v. Wal-Mart, District Court of Kansas (Shawnee), Case No. 95- CV-817. Terry E. Beck, Topeka, KS for plaintiff. R. Michael Steele, Kansas City, KS for Wal-Mart.


Woman Suffers Neck, Face and Arm Injuries After Display of Pickles Collapses on Her -- $465,000 Tennessee Award

Plaintiff, age 56, suffered cervical spondylosis with superimposed strain, bruises of the neck, face and arm, and depression after a display of pickles collapsed on her. Plaintiff claimed a 20 percent whole-body impairment. Plaintiff asserted that Wal-Mart constructed and supervised the display negligently. Plaintiff relied on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Wal-Mart claimed that plaintiff was responsible for her injuries and that she was exaggerating them.

The jury awarded plaintiff $415,000. It also awarded plaintiff's husband $215,000 for loss of consortium, but the trial judge reduced the award to $50,000.

Cox v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case No. 91-CV-283. Robert D. Arnold, Knoxville, TN for plaintiff. Gene Gaby, Greeneville, TN for Wal-Mart.


Sixty-Three-Year-Old Woman Requires Knee Surgery After Tripping Over Empty Display Pallet -- $180,000 Missouri Award

Plaintiff, age 63, required surgery for a knee sprain when she fell after tripping over an empty display pallet at the store. Wal-Mart maintained that the third party defendant, County Distributing, was responsible for leaving the pallet empty. The store also alleged that plaintiff's injuries were preexisting or the result of aging. The jury returned a $200,000 verdict against Wal-Mart, but reduced the award by 10 percent for contributory negligence. It returned a defense verdict for the third party defendant.

Sandy v. Wal-Mart, Pettis County (MO) Circuit Court, Case CV496-291CC. George A. Tyree, Blue Springs, MO for plaintiff. Michael J. Jerde, Kansas City, MO for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Woman Suffers Head, Arm, Shoulder and Back Injuries After Falling Over Improperly Positioned Display -- Appeals Court Adjusts Award to $250,250

Plaintiff suffered shoulder and back injuries, tingling in her arms and neck, headaches and dizziness when she fell after tripping over a four-foot-by-four-foot, 6.375-inch-high wooden stack base. Plaintiff alleged that the stack base was unattended, that a large portion of the base was empty of merchandise and that Wal-Mart failed to follow its internal safety procedures for dealing with stack bases.

Wal-Mart asserted that the black bottom portion of the display base contrasted with the light-colored floor, that a large sign on a five-foot pole was in the center, and that plaintiff took several steps backwards without checking to see that her path was clear.

Plaintiff was not employed at the time of the incident and did not plan to seek full-time employment. She contended that she was likely to suffer pain from the incident for the rest of her life, but presented little evidence of required medical treatment. Plaintiff suffered a major depression after the incident, but the depression was in remission.

The jury returned a verdict finding Wal-Mart 65 percent at fault and plaintiff 35 percent at fault. It awarded plaintiff $285,000 in damages. Subsequently, the trial court reduced plaintiff's comparative fault to 10 percent and raised the amount awarded for several items of damages. This increased the total amount of plaintiff's award to $790,000.

On appeal, the appeals court adjusted plaintiff's gross damages total to $385,000, but reinstated the jury's apportionment of comparative fault.

Virginia Hutchinson v. Wal-Mart, 573 So.2d 1148 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1990). Thomas B. Waterman, Ponchatoula, LA for plaintiff. Frederick Campbell and Lisa Miley Geary, New Orleans, LA for Wal-Mart.


Texas Shopper Suffers Post-Concussion Syndrome After Falling Over Backwards in Defective Chair in Store -- $40,000 Award

Plaintiff, age 35, suffered post-concussion syndrome after falling backwards on a defective chair at a Sam's Club. Plaintiff also sued the chair's manufacturer, Globe Business Furniture. Plaintiff alleged that Globe negligently designed the chair and that Wal-Mart negligently assembled it. Wal-Mart admitted that it improperly assembled the chair. Globe denied any negligence. The court found Wal-Mart 100% negligent and awarded plaintiff $40,000.

Walker v. Wal-Mart, Harris County (TX) District Court. Marshall B. Brown and Donna Finan McCarty, Houston, TX for plaintiff. Alan N. Magenheim, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Elderly Woman Injures Back When Stool in Store Collapses -- $53,000 Texas Award

Plaintiff, an elderly woman, suffered a low back injury when a stool on which she was sitting to look at patterns at a table collapsed. Wal-Mart maintained that plaintiff had a pre-existing injury. The jury awarded plaintiff $53,000.

Burchett v. Wal-Mart, Kaufman County (TX) District Court, Case No. 36673. Robert Hudnall, Dallas, TX for plaintiff. Steven P. Amis, Dallas, TX for Wal-Mart.


Elderly Man Suffers Blood Clot in Leg After Falling From Bench in Store -- $4,000 Kentucky Award

Plaintiff, age 72, suffered a blood clot in his left leg after he fell off a bench in the defendant store. When plaintiff was sitting on the bench, it tilted, which caused him to fall. Plaintiff contended that Wal-Mart failed to secure the bench. Wal-Mart denied negligence and contended that plaintiff was contributorily negligent. The jury returned a $5,613 verdict, but reduced the award by 30 percent for contributory negligence.

Hunt v. Wal-Mart, Pike County (KY) Circuit Court, Case No. 95-C1-00430. Gary C. Johnson, Pikeville, KY for plaintiff. Clifford B. Latta, Prestonburg, KY for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Shopper Injures Wrist After Tripping Over Another Customer's Wheelchair at the Store Entrance -- Louisiana Appeals Court Affirms $30,000 General Damages Award and $5,168.43 Past Medical Expenses Award, Reduces $5,452 Future Medical Expenses Award to $2,528

Plaintiff suffered a torn ligament and nerve entrapment in his right wrist when he fell after tripping on a customer's wheelchair that was stored in the store's entrance area. Wal-Mart had safety policies that stipulated that unused customer wheelchairs had to be folded and facing the rear of the store, but the foot-rest of the wheelchair was unfolded and hidden by a plant display, and the wheelchair faced the entrance aisle. Plaintiff contended that the chance that he would need fusion surgery for his injury was 40-50 percent. The court of appeals affirmed the jury's $30,000 general damages award and $5,168.43 past medical expenses award. It reduced the $5,452 future medical expenses award to $2,528.

Ronald George v. Wal-Mart, 722 So.2d 119 (La.App.. 3 Cir. 1998). Terry G. Aubin, Pineville, LA for plaintiff. Philip Andre Fontenot, Lafayette, LA for Wal-Mart.


North Dakota Man Suffers Permanent Vision Damage After Slipping on Undiluted Liquid Soap on Restroom Floor -- $228,765 Award

Plaintiff sustained permanent vision damage when he fell after slipping on a puddle of undiluted liquid soap on the floor of the store's restroom. The appeals court ruled that it was not an error for the court to admit expert testimony that a visual sweep of the restrooms was necessary every half hour to prevent slip-and-fall incidents. The plaintiff's expert had testified as a qualified expert in thirty-five states, investigated over 4,000 slip-and-fall accidents, and testified at least 500 times in cases involving slip-and-fall accidents. The store's witnesses provided conflicting testimony on the store's procedure for inspecting its restrooms. It was harmless for the court to admit expert testimony on the issue of future damages, since the store failed to demonstrate that the testimony led to a miscarriage of justice. The jury's $228,765 award was affirmed.

Jason Ray v. Wal-Mart, 120 F.3d 882 (8th Cir. 1997). Collin P. Dobrovolny, Minot, ND for plaintiff. Jennifer K. Trucano and Daniel E. Ashmore, Rapid City, SD for Wal-Mart.


Louisiana Woman Injures Back and Neck After Slipping in Wal-Mart Restroom -- Appellate Court Increases Award from $64,000 to $250,000, Awards Plaintiff's Husband $20,000 for Loss of Consortium.

Plaintiff required five surgeries on her neck and lower back when she fell after slipping on an unknown substance on the restroom floor. Her husband claimed that the injury had a harmful effect on both their social and sexual lives and forced him and his stepson to be responsible for most of the household chores. The appeals court increased plaintiff's award for general damages form $64,000 to $250,000 and awarded plaintiff's husband $20,000 for loss of consortium.

Kathleen Spangler v. Wal-Mart, 673 So.2d 676 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1996). Charest Thibaut III, John S. Thibaut Jr., Baton Rouge, LA and Al LeBlanc, Maringouin, LA for plaintiffs. John Swift and Kyle L. Gideon, Lafayette, LA for Wal-Mart.


Woman Ruptures Achilles Tendon When Wal-Mart Employee Strikes Her From Behind With Fully Stocked Cart -- $963,000 Florida Award

Plaintiff, a 46-year-old day care center director, ruptured her Achilles tendon when a Wal-Mart employee pushed a fully-stocked cart into her. Wal-Mart admitted liability. The jury awarded plaintiff $853,000 and plaintiff's husband $110,000 for loss of consortium.

Browning v. Wal-Mart, Manatee County(FL) Circuit Court, Case No. 93-1623. Thomas W. Carey and Thomas D. Roebig Jr., Clearwater, FL for plaintiffs. Vincent M. D'Assaro and Hunter A. Hall, Orlando, FL for Wal-Mart.


Seventy-One-Year-Old Plaintiff Suffers Multiple Injuries When Sam's Club Employee Strikes Her With Line of Carts -- $72,700 Florida Award

Plaintiff, a 71-year-old retiree, injured her anterior cruciate ligament, strained her back and tore the menisci of the inner aspect of the knee when a Sam's Club employee pushed a line of carts into her. Wal-Mart contended that plaintiff was negligent because she suddenly stopped walking. The jury awarded plaintiff $72,700.

Miller v. Wal-Mart, Hillsborough County (FL), Circuit Court, Case No. 91-1988. Fritz Gray, Tampa, FL for plaintiff. Vincent M. D'Assaro, Orlando, FL for Wal-Mart..


Shopper Suffers Temporomandibular Injury When Falling Metal Sign Hits Her -- $50,000 Louisiana Award

Plaintiff required surgery to her temporomandibular joint after an unsecured metal-framed shelf sign fell from a shelf located approximately six feet from the floor and hit her as she attempted to retrieve merchandise from a shelf. Wal-Mart failed to post signs indicating that the shelf was not intended to be accessible by customers. The appeals court affirmed the jury's $48,200 award to plaintiff and $1,800 award to plaintiff's husband for loss of consortium.

Elizabeth B. Leonard v. Wal-Mart, 721 So.2d 1059 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1998). Brian L. Williams, Baton Rouge, LA for plaintiffs. Roy C. Beard, Metairie, LA for Wal-Mart.


Food Demonstrator Fractures Both Arms After Becoming Entangled in Rope Used To Close Store Aisles -- $143,979 Florida Award

Plaintiff, a 68-year-old food demonstrator, fractured both her arms when she fell after becoming entangled in rope that was used to close off store aisles. The jury returned a $240,000 verdict, but reduced the award by 40 percent for comparative negligence.

Elwert v. Wal-Mart, Duval County (FL) Circuit Court, Case No. 96-02200- CA. Evan J. Yegelwel and Theodore S. Pina Jr., Jacksonville, FL for plaintiff.


Sam's Club Pursues Prosecution of Bad Check While Plaintiff Claims Check Forged With Stolen Information -- Jury Awards Plaintiff $75,000, Seventh Circuit Reverses $35,000 Punitive Damages Award

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for malicious prosecution after a Sam's Club brought criminal charges against her to collect on a bad check for $180. The check was forged with information from plaintiff's lost or stolen wallet.

Although the police contacted Sam's Club and explained plaintiff's plight, the store continued to pursue the prosecution. Wal-Mart testified that it was prepared to drop charges as soon as it received a police report, but that it never received one.

It was an error for the trial court to instruct the jury on punitive damages when plaintiff failed to raise the issue until after both parties rested.

The jury awarded plaintiff $40,000 in compensatory damages and $35,000 in punitive damages. The Seventh Circuit reversed the punitive damages award; Wal-Mart declined to appeal the compensatory damages award.

Deeanna Brewer v. Wal-Mart, 87 F.3d 203 (7th Cir. 1996). W. Scott Montross, Indianapolis, IN for plaintiff. Thomas L. Davis and Robert W. Wright, Indianapolis, IN for Wal-Mart.


Shopper Wrongfully Arrested for Passing Bad Check at Sam's Club -- $40,000 Missouri Award

Plaintiff sued Sam's Club for malicious prosecution after being charged with writing a bad check at the store. Plaintiff was arrested and held in jail for seven hours; the charges were dismissed four days later when it was determined that the plaintiff's brother passed the bad check.

The jury awarded plaintiff $30,000 in actual damages and $10,000 in punitive damages.

Richardson v. Wal-Mart, Clay County (MO) Circuit Court, Case No. CV193-7379-CC. Benny J. Harding and David J. Weimer for plaintiff. Kevin R. Locke and David S. Baker for Wal-Mart.


Nurse Detained and Prosecuted on Suspicion of Shoplifting -- $128,050 Kansas Award

Plaintiff, a 23-year-old nurse, sued Wal-Mart for false arrest, invasion of privacy, outrageous conduct and malicious prosecution after being detained outside the store, accused of shoplifting, arrested and prosecuted. The court dismissed all of the charges. Plaintiff charged that Wal-Mart wanted to perform a strip search. She also contended that the store planted the evidence in her bag. Wal-Mart argued that the merchandise found in the plaintiff's shopping bag was not listed on the sales ticket. The jury awarded plaintiff $57,100 for false arrest, $2,200 for invasion of privacy, $24,000 for outrageous conduct and $44,750 for malicious prosecution.

Wash v. Wal-Mart, Wyandotte (KS) District Court, Case No. 89C-3338. Bryson R. Cloon, Overland Park, KS for plaintiff. Robert F. Rowe Jr., Kansas City, KS for Wal-Mart.


Alabama Woman Sues Store for False Imprisonment After Being Detained on Suspicion of Shoplifting -- $200,000 Award Affirmed

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for false imprisonment after a store employee questioned and detained her on the suspicion that she stole a coat from the store. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the jury's $200,000 award.

Wal-Mart v. Sharon Jones, 533 So.2d 551(Ala. 1988). Ronald A. Drummond, Scottsboro, AL for plaintiff. Donna S. Pate, Huntsville, AL for Wal-Mart.


Woman Sues Store for False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution After Being Detained and Prosecuted on Suspicion of Shoplifting -- $20,850 Arkansas Award Affirmed

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for false arrest and malicious prosecution after being detained by a store employee on the suspicion that she stole a pen from the store. Plaintiff claimed that she had forgotten to pay for the pen. The Wal-Mart employee called the police, initiated a prosecution for shoplifting, and continued the prosecution even though the City Attorney recommended that the prosecution be dismissed. The employee claimed that he was unaware of the store's shoplifting procedure. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the jury's $850 compensatory damages award and $20,000 punitive damages award..

Wal-Mart v. Katherine Yarbrough, 681 S.W.2d 369 (Ark. 1984). William T. Morris, Fort Smith, AR for plaintiff. J.L. Hendren, Bentonville, AR for Wal-Mart.


Shopper Sues Wal-Mart After Being Detained and Searched on Suspicion of Shoplifting -- $300,000 Texas Award

Plaintiff, age 39, sued Wal-Mart after being detained, escorted to a store office, and searched on the suspicion that he had stolen something from the store. As plaintiff was leaving the store, a Wal-Mart loss prevention associate grabbed his shoulder, spun him around and, with two other employees, took him to the back office.

Inside the office, the employee acknowledged that he had not seen plaintiff conceal any merchandise. Nonetheless, he demanded that plaintiff empty his pockets and drop his pants. After plaintiff refused to drop his pants, the employee ordered plaintiff to raise his shirt. Plaintiff explained that his torso was heavily bandaged because he had recently undergone three major surgeries in connection with a liver transplant. The employee ordered him to remove his bandages. Plaintiff contended that he could not remove the bandages, since he had to take precautions to ensure that the wound would not be exposed in an unsterile environment.

Plaintiff claimed that the employee disregarded his expressed concern over exposing his wound and continued to demand that he remove the bandages. Afraid that the employee would remove the bandages himself, plaintiff carefully loosened the bandages. This satisfied the employee, so he told plaintiff that he was free to leave. The employee refused to apologize or explain his actions. Plaintiff alleged that an assistant store manager and support manager witnessed the entire interrogation and search, but did nothing to stop it.

The trial court granted Wal-Mart's motion for a directed verdict on the intentional infliction of emotional distress and malice claims. Subsequently, the jury awarded plaintiff $300,000.

Carl W. Cockrell v. Wal-Mart, Matagorda County (TX) District Court. Case No. 98-H-0059-C. Scott Broussard and Anthony R. Segura, Houston, TX for plaintiff. J. Preston Wrotenbery, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Minnesota Man Sues Wal-Mart for Defamation, False Imprisonment and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress After Store Employee Detains and Accuses Plaintiff -- Judgment for Plaintiff on Defamation Affirmed, Judgments for Plaintiffs on False Imprisonment and Negligence Reversed, $180,000 General Damages Award Remanded for New Trial

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for defamation and false imprisonment after a store employee told police that plaintiff stole merchandise. Plaintiff also sought damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The police detained plaintiff for twenty minutes.

None of the store employees involved believed that they could have made an in-store detention of plaintiff. The store employee's investigation did not provide him with sufficient facts to believe that the statements he made to the 911 operator were valid. The store employee did not direct plaintiff's detention.

It was an error to submit negligence to the jury as a separate cause of action. The general damages questions on the verdict form was not associated with the specific causes of action.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court's judgment for plaintiff on his defamation claim, but reversed the trial court's judgments for plaintiff on his false imprisonment and negligence claims and remanded the $180,000 general damages award for a new trial.

Gregg J. Smits v. Wal-Mart, 525 N.W.2d 554 (Minn. App. 1994). Ronald H. McLean and Jane L. Dynes, Fargo, ND for plaintiff. David A. Ranheim, Michael J. Wahoska and Edward B. Magarian, Minneapolis, MN for Wal-Mart.


Customer Sues Wal-Mart for Slander After Being Accused of Shoplifting -- Arkansas Supreme Court Affirms $25,000 Award

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for slander after an employee accused her of shoplifting from another store during the previous week. The employee made the accusations in an area of heavy consumer traffic and in view of two other store employees. It was not an error to admit testimony for the purpose of proving that the employee made the accusations, rather than the truth of the statements.

The jury awarded plaintiff $25,000. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the award.

Wal-Mart v. Carolyn Dolph, 825 S.W.2d 810 (Ark. 1992). Brooks A. Gill, Dumas, AR for plaintiff. Edwin Lowther Jr. and Samuel Bird, Monticello, AR for Wal-Mart.


Texas Retiree Injured by Shoplifting Suspect and Security Personnel During Apprehension -- $60,224 Award

Plaintiff, age 61 and retired, suffered herniated discs when a shoplifting suspect and store security personnel struck her in a Wal-Mart store. Plaintiff contended that the employees were negligent in taking the suspect through the store when it was filled with Christmas shoppers. Wal-Mart claimed that it took appropriate measures during the apprehension of the suspect. The jury awarded plaintiff $60,224. It awarded plaintiff's husband nothing on his loss of consortium claim. Subsequently, the parties settled the case for a confidential amount.

Hutto v. Wal-Mart, Cherokee County (TX) District Court, Case No. 92-6-00354. Russell C. Brown, Henderson, TX for plaintiffs. Tom Henson, Tyler, TX for Wal-Mart


Employee Fired For Interracial Dating -- Fifth Circuit Affirms $19,000 Compensatory Damages Award, Reinstates Punitive Damages Award at $75,000

Plaintiff, a white female former employee, sued Wal-Mart for racial discrimination on the grounds that she was fired for dating an African-American man. The store claimed that plaintiff was fired for shopping for store merchandise during working hours. The evidence, however, suggested that plaintiff's husband made the purchase, that other employees purchased items at the end of their shifts without being disciplined, and that the supervisor who made the decision to fire plaintiff ignored corroborating evidence and refused to investigate.

Plaintiff testified that her supervisor remained silent when another supervisor told plaintiff she "would never move up with the company being associated with a black man." She also indicated that her husband's supervisor told him a few days before the termination that "they" were going to "mess with" and "terminate" plaintiff. Plaintiff's supervisor had given her a one-day suspension for an earlier incident of shopping for store merchandise during working hours; she had also received a written reprimand for holding a Christmas party without contacting him, even though she had left messages on his voice mail concerning the party and had held the same party for four years.

The jury awarded plaintiff $19,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. Subsequently, the trial court granted Wal-Mart's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the punitive damages claim.

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the compensatory damages award. It also reversed the trial court's decision to deny plaintiff punitive damages. Since the punitive damages award was high for cases of this type from the Fifth Circuit, however, it reduced the punitive damages award to $75,000.

Julie Deffenbaugh-Williams v. Wal-Mart, 156 F.3d 581 (5th Cir. 1998). Mark C. Brodeur, Dallas, TX for plaintiff. Jimmy Preston Wrotenbery and Kevin D. Jewell, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Alaska Man Subjected to Racial Harassment While Employed at McDonald's Inside Wal-Mart Store -- $58,000 Award

Plaintiff, a 37-year-old employee of a McDonald's that was located inside a Wal-Mart Superstore, sued Wal-Mart for racially-motivated harassment. For over a year, a Wal-Mart manager singled him out for frequent, intrusive searches of his personal carry-bag and his person. The jury returned a verdict for $12,000 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages, but reduced the compensatory damages award by 33 percent for failure to mitigate.

Elvis R. Stewart v. Wal-Mart, Third Judicial District (AK) Superior Court, Case No. 3AN-95-06964. Kenneth A. Norsworthy and David George, Anchorage, AK for plaintiff. Suzanne Lombardi, Anchorage, AK for Wal-Mart.


Alabama Wal-Mart Employees Subjected to Racial Harassment from Superiors and Co-Workers -- Eleventh Circuit Affirms $75,000 and $50,000 Compensatory Damages Awards, Reverses $250,000 Punitive Damages Award

Plaintiffs, two Wal-Mart employees, sued the store for racial discrimination. Of a group of thirteen consolidated plaintiffs, they were the only ones to succeed in winning judgments against Wal-Mart.

The store rejected plaintiff Dudley for a promotion and gave it to a non-minority candidate with similar credentials. Additionally, plaintiff Dudley claimed that her co-workers had racially harassed her several times.

The store demoted plaintiff Robertson in favor of a white employee. Plaintiff Robertson also alleged that the man who demoted her and a store co-manager had subjected her to racially-discriminatory conduct. No one higher in the corporation knew about the co-manager's actions.

It was not an error for the trial court to refuse to allow Wal-Mart to rebut plaintiff's rationale for striking a juror, even though the store contended that another juror with a similar trait had not been struck.

The jury awarded plaintiff Dudley $75,000 in compensatory damages. It awarded plaintiff Robertson $50,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the compensatory damages awards, but reversed plaintiff Robertson's award of punitive damages.

Lillian D. Dudley v. Wal-Mart, 155 F.3d 1317 (11th Cir. 1999). Lucie McLemore, Jay Lewis and Timothy Tyler, Montgomery, AL for the plaintiffs. Barry V. Frederick and John W. Sheffield, Birmingham, AL for Wal-Mart.


Wheelchair-Bound Job Applicant Sues Wal-Mart for ADA Violations -- $3,583,399 New Mexico Award

Plaintiff, who had lost the use of his legs in a construction accident, sued Wal-Mart under the ADA after the store rejected his application for employment six times. Each time plaintiff sought employment, a personnel manager informed him that the store had "no openings for a person in a wheelchair." During plaintiff's last attempt, a manager allegedly told him that the store "already had one of his kind in the garden center."

The EEOC used Wal-Mart records to document that the store had more than 133 openings during the time period that the plaintiff sought employment and that plaintiff was qualified for at least 83 of those jobs. Plaintiff submitted a video tape which established that he led an active life and was able to lift 16 foot boards, plaster walls and load bricks onto a wheelbarrow.

Wal-Mart contended that plaintiff was not "qualified" under the ADA because he was considered 100% disabled under the Social Security Act and was receiving Social Security Disability Income.

The jury awarded plaintiff $75,000 for compensatory damages, $8,399 for back pay and $3.5 million for punitive damages.

E.E.O.C. v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico, Case No. 94-CV-1076. Richard R. Trujillo, Mary Jo O'Neill and Trisha Kirtley, Phoenix, AZ for plaintiff. Bonnie Stapleton, Albuquerque, NM for Wal-Mart.


Maintenance Supervisor Demoted, Terminated Following Surgery for Brain Tumor -- Fourth Circuit Affirms Wal-Mart's Liability on FMLA and ADA Claims, Remands Damages Awards for Recalculation

Plaintiff, a former night maintenance supervisor for Wal-Mart, sued the store under the FMLA and ADA after it demoted and subsequently terminated him following his return from a medical leave for the recurrence of a brain tumor. Plaintiff's leave lasted for 88 days, but five were vacation days.

Upon his return to work, Wal-Mart demoted plaintiff to a maintenance worker position. It failed to fill his former position of supervisor for two weeks. Within eight weeks of plaintiff's return, Wal-Mart fired him. The store claimed that it fired him for clocking in 13 minutes early for a mandatory meeting; another employee had done the same thing, but the store reinstated him and expunged his record. According to plaintiff, the termination happened after he complained to Wal-Mart about his demotion and threatened to sue.

Statements of plaintiff's supervisor indicated that he perceived plaintiff to be significantly restricted in his ability to perform his old job and supervisory work in general. Plaintiff failed to present evidence that his emotional trauma had persisted over time, affected his ability to perform his job or cope with his medical condition, required counseling or medication, or manifested itself in physical symptoms of stress.

Wal-Mart claimed that plaintiff's 12-week FMLA leave period had expired before his return to work. Plaintiff's request-for-leave form, however, did not mention vacation leave or contain any other language that should have put him on notice that his vacation days were to be considered part of his 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

The jury awarded plaintiff $117,500 for compensatory damages and $182,500 for punitive damages on the ADA claim. It awarded $1,100 for lost wages and benefits on the FMLA restoration claim and $117,500 for front pay, $36,400 for back pay and $156,801.59 for liquidated damages on the FMLA retaliation claim.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the judgments of liability against Wal-Mart on the ADA demotion and FMLA retailation claims. It asserted, however, that the record did not justify the damages awards on the ADA claim and remanded them for recalculation. Additionally, it concluded that the trial court erred in submitting the issue of front pay to the jury and remanded the front pay and liquidated damages awards for recalculation.

Keith W. Cline v. Wal-Mart, 144 F.3d 294 (4th Cir. 1998). Timothy Earl Cupp, Harrisonburg, VA for plaintiff. Todd James Horn and Maurice Baskin, Baltimore, MD for Wal-Mart.


Seventh-Day Adventist Fired by Wal-Mart After Refusing To Work on Sabbath -- Seventh Circuit Affirms $9,000 Award for Back Pay and Compensatory Damages, Reverses $250,000 Punitive Damages Award

Plaintiff, a former Wal-Mart employee, sued the store on the theory that she was terminated because of her religion. A Seventh Day Adventist, plaintiff believed that she should honor her Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. That belief conflicted with her employment schedule and Wal-Mart's needs for her to work at other locations.

Wal-Mart contended that it fired plaintiff because she and a co-worker gained access to the store's computer under the manager's password and failed to tell management. Plaintiff had not gained access to the computer.

Plaintiff testified that she performed the basic requirements of her job reasonably well, but was discharged because the store's manager was displeased with her failure to work during her Sabbath. The store manager, who had made disparaging comments about plaintiff's religion, provided the district manager with an inaccurate account of the computer-access incident. An employee who did not practice plaintiff's religion remained employed, even though she also knew of the surreptitious access and did not inform management. Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the manager had an "evil" or callous attitude towards her.

The jury awarded plaintiff $6,000 in back pay, $3,000 in compensatory damages, and $250,000 in punitive damages. The trial judge denied Wal-Mart's motion for judgment as a matter of law following the trial, but granted its motion for a new trial on the appropriate amount of punitive damages. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the trial judge's denial of Wal-Mart's motion for judgment as a matter of law, but vacated the award of punitive damages.

Talitha Tincher v. Wal-Mart, 118 F.3d 1125 (7th Cir. 1997); 945 F.Supp. 1209 (S.D.Ind. 1996). Michael C. Kendall and Stephanie J. Haun, Indianapolis, IN for plaintiff. Gus Sacopulos and Gregory S. Carter, Terre Haute, IN for Wal-Mart.


Missouri Female Employee Subjected to Hostile Work Environment -- Eighth Circuit Affirms $35,000 Compensatory Damages Award, Reduces Punitive Damages Award to $350,000

Plaintiff, a former Wal-Mart employee, sued the store for sexual harassment, hostile work environment and constructive discharge after sexual remarks and other offensive conduct by her supervisor and an assistant store manager forced her to leave her job. Store management repeatedly ignored plaintiff's complaints, even though Wal-Mart's corporate policy had mandated that it investigate allegations of sexual harassment. Plaintiff failed to present evidence of serious sexual assault or physical touching, quid pro quo harassment, or retaliation for complaints.

It was not an error to allow plaintiff to introduce evidence of sexual harassment that had happened outside of the limitations period, since the evidence could illustrate a pattern of sex discrimination and a hostile work environment. It was also not an error to submit the question of punitive damages to the jury.

The jury found Wal-Mart liable on the hostile work environment and constructive discharge claims and awarded plaintiff $35,000 for compensatory damages, $1 for back pay, and fifty million dollars for punitive damages. After trial, the district court reduced the punitive damages award to five million dollars. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000, but affirmed the remainder of the jury's verdict.

Peggy Kimzey v. Wal-Mart, 107 F.3d 568 (8th Cir. 1997). Carla G. Holste, Michael J. Wahoske, George A. Koeck and Robert J. Borhart, Jefferson City, MO for plaintiff. David A. Ranheim, Ronald R. McMillin and Timothy E. Gannon, Minneapolis, MN for Wal-Mart.


Cashier Suspended, Reassigned After Complaining About Sexual Harassment -- $2.015 Million Florida Award

Plaintiff was verbally and physically harassed by other employees after Wal-Mart transferred her from cashier to night stocker. Plaintiff reported the harassment to her supervisor and the store's manager, but the store failed to investigate the accusations. Instead, plaintiff was chastised, suspended from her night stocker position, and reassigned as a cashier. The change decreased her work hours and wages.

The jury awarded plaintiff $2,000,000 against Wal-Mart. It also awarded her $15,000, including $5,000 in punitive damages, against the co-worker who physically assaulted her.

Connie Holmes v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Case No. 95-CV-137. Neil Cronin, Coral Gables, FL for plaintiff. Charles Powell and Frank Brown, Tampa, FL for Wal-Mart.


Female Receiving-Department Workers Harassed by Co-Worker - $1,977,000 New Mexico Award

Plaintiffs, employees in the receiving department of a Sam's Club, informed a supervisor that a co-worker was making obscene comments to them and touching them inappropriately. The supervisor, who witnessed some of the conduct, reported it the assistant manager in charge of the receiving department. Although the supervisor wanted to write up the complaints, the manager told him to wait and see if the harassing employee changed his behavior.

Instead, the harassing employee continued the harassment. Rather than take disciplinary action, management promoted him to supervisor. One plaintiff quit; the other one stayed on the job, but contacted the EEOC. Before meeting with the EEOC, management reassigned the harassing employee to another department, but he continued to harass plaintiff. Subsequently, the second plaintiff quit.

Ten days after the second plaintiff quit, the harassing employee was arrested on criminal charges of sexual assault, false imprisonment and aggravated assault of his girlfriend. He was not terminated. After the harassing employee was convicted of two felonies, store officials gave him a leave of absence to serve his jail sentence. The store terminated him after he failed to return to work when his leave of absence expired.

Plaintiffs presented evidence that no Wal-Mart manager was ever trained to deal with sexual harassment issues. Moreover, the store's sole policy on sexual harassment was a two paragraph statement contained in the employee handbook. A district manager admitted that he had never seen the sexual harassment policy until after being deposed by plaintiff's counsel.

The jury awarded one plaintiff $1.364 million and the other plaintiff $613,000 on their claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision.

Cathy Jean Coates v. Wal-Mart, 1st Judicial District (NM) District Court, Case No. SF 95-2409. Stephen E. Tinkler and Merit Bennett, Sante Fe, NM for plaintiffs. Mark James and Steve Scholl, Albuquerque, NM for Wal-Mart.


Employee Discharged After Filing Worker's Compensation Claim - $630,000 Texas Award

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for wrongful termination when the store fired her after she filed a worker's compensation claim. The jury awarded her $630,000.

Cruz v. Wal-Mart, Maverick County (TX) District Court, Case No. 91-10-10814. Craig L. White, San Antonio, TX for plaintiff. Robert E. Bettac and Dewey Poteet, San Antonio, TX for Wal-Mart.


$1.5 Million Punitive Damage Award in Texas for Plaintiff Who Alleged Retaliation Following a Job Injury in Which She Filed a Worker's Compensation Claim - Total Judgment Reaches $3.4 Million - Punitive Damages Award Reversed on Appeal.

Plaintiff, who had worked as a stocker in a Wal-Mart warehouse, sued the store on the grounds that it discriminated against her in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim. Plaintiff suffered a back injury on the job and settled her worker's compensation claim for $45,000. Upon returning to work, plaintiff received a more strenuous job than usual and told her manager that she could not do it. Her manager's response caused her to believe that she would lose her job if she did not perform the task. While performing the task, plaintiff further aggravated her injury. The injury reduced plaintiff's earning capacity by half.

Wal-Mart was known to have a hostile attitude toward worker's compensation claims. Plaintiff failed to establish that her manager intended to cause substantial injury to her, or acted with flagrant disregard for her rights and actual awareness that the act would result in great bodily harm or death.

The jury awarded plaintiff $5,000 for emotional anguish, $250,000 for physical impairment in the future and $1,500,000 in punitive damages. On appeal, the appeals court reversed the punitive damages award, but affirmed the remainder of the jury's verdict.

Wal-Mart v. Bettie Jo Holland, 956 S.W.2d 590 (Tex.App.--Tyler 1997). George E. Chandler, Lufkin, TX for plaintiff. J. Preston Wrotenbery, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Jewelry Department Manager Suffers Emotional Distress, Aggravates Pre-Existing Neck and Back Condition When Forcibly Escorted From Wal-Mart After Unjustified Termination -- $121,000 Florida Award

Plaintiff, a 29-year-old jewelry department manager, aggravated a pre-existing neck and back condition and suffered emotional distress when Wal-Mart employees forcibly escorted her from the store after the store improperly terminated her employment. She contended that she suffered an 18 percent permanent partial disability.

Plaintiff indicated that the store's management ordered her to honor the misadvertised price on a specific diamond necklace. Plaintiff contacted management several times to clarify the order. The plaintiff alleged that management accused her of promoting the misadvertised item and purchasing one of the necklaces herself.

Wal-Mart contended that plaintiff was an at-will employee and that her own negligence resulted in her termination. The store also claimed that it had the privilege of relying on force to remove the plaintiff once her employment had been terminated.

The jury awarded plaintiff $110,000 and awarded plaintiff's husband $10,000 for loss of service.

Rollins v. Wal-Mart, Brevard County (FL) Circuit Court, Case #86-4141-CA-T. Susan K.W. Erlenbach, Titusville, FL for plaintiffs. J. Lester Kaney, Daytona Beach, FL for Wal-Mart.


Wal-Mart Manager Sets Up Video Camera, Baits Employee Break Room -- $20 Million Kentucky Award

Plaintiffs, four former Wal-Mart employees, sued the store for defamation, eavesdropping and outrageous conduct after the store's manager, concerned about possible employee theft, set up a video camera in the employee break room and left a package of assorted nuts and candies with broken packaging on the break room table as bait. The store fired three of the employees the day it viewed the video; it fired the fourth a few weeks later. It told all of the fired employees that they violated company policy. When one of the plaintiffs asked a manager if the store had fired them for eating the candy, the manager told him that was not the only reason.

Wal-Mart moved for summary judgment on the theory that it could not be liable because plaintiffs were "at-will" employees, but the trial court denied that motion. The trial court granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the eavesdropping claim.

A former Wal-Mart manager testified that the store regularly donated merchandise with broken packaging to charities and sometimes gave it to employees.

The jury awarded each plaintiff $1 million for reputation, $1 million for embarrassment and $3 million in punitive damages.

Stringer v. Wal-Mart, Wayne Co.(KY) Circuit Court, Case No. 95C10228. Larry Rogers and Thomas Carroll, Monticello, KY for plaintiffs. Donna Perry, Louisville, KY for Wal-Mart.


Store Management Secretly Records Employee Conversations -- First Circuit Reduces Vermont Damages Awards from $20,000 to $10,000

Plaintiffs, four former Wal-Mart employees, sued the store under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act on grounds that store management secretly recorded their conversations with a voice-activated recorder. It was an error for the trial court to make separate awards for recording the conversations and using the recorded conversations. It was not an error to refuse to award attorney fees to the store for the plaintiffs' lack of success in recovering punitive damages. The First Circuit reduced each plaintiff's damages award from $20,000 to $10,000.

James Desilets v. Wal-Mart, 171 F.3d 711(1st Cir. 1999). Charles L. Powell, Woodstock, VT for the plaintiffs. E. Tupper Kinder, Manchester, VT for Wal-Mart.


45 Employees Sue Wal-Mart After Employee Attempts To Set Up Camera in Unisex Employee Bathroom -- Louisiana Judgment Awarding Damages to Two Plaintiffs Affirmed

Wal-Mart faced 45 consolidated suits from its employees after an employee attempted to set up a camera in the unisex employee bathroom to catch a thief. The camera did not record or transmit anything. The appeals court affirmed the jury's award of damages to two plaintiffs for intentional abuse of the plaintiffs' rights.

Mona Meche v. Wal-Mart, 692 So.2d 544 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1997). Elizabeth Ann Dugal, Christopher Leonard Zaunbrecher, Alfred Frem Boustany II, Howard Wallace Martin, James L. Brazos Jr., B. Christopher Beyer, Lafayette, LA;, Porter David Guarisco III, Baton Rouge, LA; Jo Ann Nixon, New Ileria, LA; Kim Reginald Hayes, Crowley, LA; Joslyn Relee Alex, Breaux Ridge, LA; Ted L. Ayo, Abbeville, LA; and Lawrence E. "Tony" Morrow for plaintiffs. John Goulding Swift, Lafayette, LA for Wal-Mart.


Twenty-Eight Year-Old Electrical Contractor Dies After Falling Through Sheet-Metal Bottom of Sign at Sam's Club While Performing Maintenance on It -- $1,363,131 Texas Award

Decedent, a 28-year-old electrical contractor, died after falling forty feet from a sign at a Sam's Club store. Plaintiff had entered the sign to perform maintenance on it. Although evidence suggested that the thin sheet-metal construction of the bottom of the sign was not apparent from the outside of the sign, Wal-Mart placed no warning on the sign and had not attempted to reinforce the sign's bottom. Plaintiff was not wearing a safety belt.

The jury returned a verdict for $2,726,261 for plaintiff's wife, mother, child and estate, but reduced the award by 50 percent for comparative negligence.

Estate of Cheatham v. Wal-Mart, Galveston(TX) District Court, Case No. 91-CV-459. Dennis G. Herlong and James Clay Crawford, Houston, TX and James P. Simpson, Texas City, TX for plaintiffs. Alan N. Magenheim and Jack Helfand, Houston, TX for Wal-Mart.


Truck Driver for Vendor Slips on Snow and Ice on Delivery Ramp at New Hampshire Wal-Mart -- First Circuit Affirms $55,112 Award

Plaintiff, employed by a vendor as a truck driver, suffered an unspecified injury when he fell after slipping on snow and ice that was coating the Wal-Mart store's delivery ramp. It was not an error for the court to refuse to repeat the jury instruction on comparative negligence when the jury requested a review of the instructions on negligence and proximate cause. It was not an error to instruct the jury that it could infer that the store destroyed certain records because it knew they would be harmful to its case.

The jury awarded plaintiff $55,112. The First Circuit affirmed the jury's verdict.

Lewis R. Testa v. Wal-Mart, 144 F3d 175 (1st Cir. 1998). Stewart S. Richmond Jr. and Scott H. Harris for plaintiff. George R. Moore and Bret D. Gifford for Wal-Mart.


Truck Driver Crushed When Two Pallets Fall From Freight Truck Packed by Sam's Club -- $2,225,000 North Carolina Award

Plaintiff, a fifty-two year old truck driver, suffered a fractured leg, closed head injury, cognitive deficits, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, esophagitis, cervical damage, rotator cuff injury, thoracic outlet syndrome, depression, organic personality disorder and headaches when two pallets from a Sam's Club-loaded truck while plaintiff was unloading it. The pallets weighed a total of 2,500 pounds.

Plaintiff alleged that Sam's Club loaded the truck and stacked and secured the merchandise improperly, failed to adhere to common industry practices and standards and DOT guidelines and failed to train its employees and warn him. Sam's Club denied that it was negligent and maintained that plaintiff was contributorily negligent because he parked the truck on the slip of a loading dock and failed to inspect behind the door before opening it.

The jury awarded plaintiff $2,225,000.

Kilgo v. Wal-Mart, Mecklenburg County (NC) Superior Court, Case No. 97-CVS-14723. Jeffrey A. Hyman, Denver, CO for plaintiffs. Karen Zaman, Charlotte, NC for Wal-Mart.


Florida Man Killed With Ammunition Purchased at Wal-Mart -- Wal-Mart Responsible for $996,725 of $2.1 Million Award

Plaintiffs, the family of the decedent, sued Wal-Mart for negligent sale of ammunition to a minor after two minors purchased ammunition at Wal-Mart and used it to murder the decedent. Plaintiffs claimed that the sale of the ammunition violated federal law regarding the sale of ammunition to teenagers.

The jury returned a $2.1 million verdict for plaintiffs and apportioned 35 percent of the fault to Wal-Mart.

Coker v. Wal-Mart, Escambia Co. (FL) Circuit Court, Case No. 92-5408. Martin H. Levin, Pensacola, FL for plaintiffs.


Twenty-Three-Year-Old Housewife Dies After Collision With Wal-Mart Truck -- $750,000 Tennessee Award

Decedent, a 23-year-old housewife, died after suffering a closed head injury in a collision with a Wal-Mart truck. The truck was making a left-hand turn across traffic on a four-lane limited-access road. Decedent endured considerable pain before she died because the closed head injury precluded the use of anesthetics. Wal-Mart contended that decedent was contributorily negligent.

The jury returned a $1 million verdict, but reduced the award by 25 percent for comparative negligence.

Jackson v. Land et al., U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee, Case No. 93-CV-2595. Alan B. Chambers, Handel R. Durham and James F. Kyle for plaintiff.


Pharmacy Malpractice Leads to Kidney Infection and Emotional Distress in Pregnant Woman, Infant Dies One Month After Birth -- $160,000 California Award

Plaintiff, a 39-year-old homemaker, developed a kidney infection and suffered emotional distress after overdosing on medication that the store's pharmacist prescribed for her. Plaintiff contended that the pharmacist failed to speak clearly and to warn her of the side effects that the medication would have on her pregnancy. Plaintiff further maintained that the kidney infection caused her to deliver prematurely. Her infant died one month after birth. Wal-Mart denied that it was negligent and contended that plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to interpret and properly follow the pharmacist's instructions. The jury awarded plaintiff $160,000.

Carol Potter v. Wal-Mart, Los Angeles County (CA) Superior Court, Case No. MC 004 703. Joseph F. Noriega and Craig A. Edmonston, Bakersfield, CA for plaintiff. Barry Clifford Snyder, Santa Barbara, CA for Wal-Mart.


Pharmacy Misfills Thyroid Prescription Five Times -- $200,000 Alabama Award Affirmed

Plaintiffs sued Wal-Mart after the store's pharmacist misfilled their thyroid medicine prescriptions several times. Three other persons claimed that the pharmacist misfilled their prescriptions. An award of $10,000 compensatory and $190,000 punitive damages was affirmed on appeal.

Wal-Mart v. Glinda Gay Robbins, 719 So.2d 245 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998). H.E. Nix, Jr. and David P. Stevens, Montgomery, AL for Wal-Mart.


Texas Man Injures Teeth on Hard Plastic Cube in Sam's Club Sandwich -- $3,000 Award

Plaintiff injured his teeth when he bit into a hard plastic cube in a sandwich that he purchased from a Sam's Club. The jury awarded plaintiff $3,000.

In addition to his common law claims, plaintiff filed a state statutory deceptive trade practices claim to secure a basis for recovering attorney's fees. The statutory and common law claims were interrelated enough to excuse segregation of the hours that plaintiff's counsel spent on the claims. Only 25 percent of the hours that plaintiff's counsel spent on the case between the amendment and the trial were reasonably expended in preparation of the case. The likelihood that the case would be removed to federal court and go to a full trial made it an undesirable case for plaintiff's attorney to handle; likewise, the likelihood of a full trial limited plaintiff's attorney's ability to accept other employment. Plaintiff received an award that was less than what he had requested for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. The court awarded the plaintiff $2,750 in attorney fees, $564.98 in prejudgment interest and $1,141.85 in court costs.

Raymond F. Keeton v. Wal-Mart, 21 F.Supp,.2d 653 (E.D. Tex.1998) Steven Carl Barkley, Beaumont, TX for plaintiff. Hubert Oxford, Beaumont, TX for Wal-Mart.


Man Loses Engine After Wal-Mart Fails To Add Oil During Oil Change -- $55,227 Texas Award

Plaintiff alleged that Wal-Mart caused the loss of his engine by failing to add oil during an oil change. The jury awarded plaintiff $55,227.

Leo Schion v. Wal-Mart, Jefferson Co. (TX) District Court, 58th District, Case No. A-152,800. Darren L. Brown for plaintiff. Matthews Mussalli for Wal-Mart.


Man Injured When Tire Falls Off Ford Bronco After Wal-Mart Mechanic Fails To Tighten Lug Nut -- $8,000,000 Texas Award

Plaintiff suffered injuries to his brain and neck when an approaching Ford Bronco lost its left front tire. The tire struck the driver's side door of plaintiff's Ford Taurus, and the impact knocked plaintiff's side-view mirror through his window. Three days before the incident, a Wal-Mart mechanic had removed, repaired and replaced the left front tire on the Ford Bronco.

Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart for negligence and malice in failing to tighten the lug nuts on the wheel; plaintiff's wife added a claim for loss of consortium. Wal-Mart fired the mechanic for negligence, but attempted to argue at trial that it and the mechanic exercised reasonable care. Wal-Mart also contended that the driver of the Ford Bronco was responsible for the accident.

Plaintiff incurred $44,050 in past medical costs and alleged that he would have to pay $647,500 to cover his future medical expenses. Plaintiff also claimed that the injuries would cost him $1,460,858 in lost wages.

In February 1999, the court compelled Wal-Mart to reveal all similar events from Wal-Mart stores nationwide within the previous five years. Plaintiff demanded $9,500,000 before the trial; Wal-Mart offered $200,000.

In May 1999, a jury awarded plaintiff $6,000,000 and his wife $2,000,000.

Paul Wayne Neill v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas at Lufkin, Case No. 97-CV-344. Michael Edward Schmidt, Dallas, TX for plaintiffs. Edward Lawrence Merritt, Longview, TX for Wal-Mart.


Fifty-Three-Year-Old Receptionist Suffers Multiple Injuries When Wal-Mart Office Chair Collapses -- $70,222 Texas Award

Plaintiff, a 53-year-old receptionist, strained her lumbar back and shoulder and developed impingement syndrome when a chair that she purchased at Wal-Mart collapsed while she was sitting on it. Wal-Mart disputed the permanency of the plaintiff's injuries and claimed that the injuries were not the result of the accident. The jury awarded plaintiff $70,222.

Parrish v. Wal-Mart, Polk County (FL) Circuit Court, Case No. GC-G-95-1905. Mark H. Smith and Norman White, Lake Wales, FL for plaintiff. Jerome B. Blevins, St. Petersburg, FL and Douglas A. Lockwood III, Winter Haven, FL for Wal-Mart.


Seventy-Six-Year-Old Woman Dies When Electric Blanket Purchased at Wal-Mart Catches on Fire and Destroys Her Home -- $980,000 Oklahoma Award

Decedent, age 76, died when an electric blanket that she purchased at Wal-Mart caught fire and destroyed her home. The jury awarded plaintiff $980,000.

Estate of Whittmore v. Sunbeam Corp. and Wal-Mart, Oklahoma County(OK) District Court, Case No. CIV-95-62 S. Anthony M. Laizure, John M. Thetford and Cheryl Bisbee, Tulsa, OK for plaintiff. John R. Woodard III and J. David Mustain, Tulsa, OK for Wal-Mart.


Plaintiff Injured When Hair Dryer Purchased at Wal-Mart Catches on Fire -- $186,000 Florida Award

Plaintiff strained her cervix and developed carpal tunnel syndrome when a hair dryer that she purchased from Wal-Mart caught on fire the first time that she used it. When she turned on the hair dryer, flames appeared, ignited her shirt and burned her. Subsequently, plaintiff fell to the floor and sustained her injuries. Plaintiff maintained that Wal-Mart sold an unsafe product and failed to warn purchasers of the danger. The defense denied negligence and alleged that plaintiff was responsible for her own injuries. The jury awarded plaintiff $186,000.

Zonkoski v. Wal-Mart, Palm Beach County (FL) Circuit Court, Case No. 97-1657. Michael E. Eriksen, West Palm Beach, FL for plaintiff. Glenn B. Siegel, Port Charlotte, FL for Wal-Mart.


Three-Year-Old Plaintiff Loses Vision in One Eye After Striking Herself in Eye With End of Plastic Headband -- $615,000 Wyoming Award

Plaintiff, age three, lost the sight in one of her eyes when she struck herself with the pointed end of a plastic headband that she purchased at Wal-Mart. Plaintiff maintained that the headband was unreasonably dangerous for use by children and that Wal-Mart failed to label and test the product properly. Wal-Mart countered that the product was not unreasonably dangerous and that it had no legal responsibility to test the product prior to marketing it. The jury awarded plaintiff $615,000.

Davis v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming, Case No. 94-CV-126. Michael Rosenthal and James E. Fitzgerald, Cheyenne, WY for plaintiff. Mark Gifford, Casper, WY for Wal-Mart.


Oklahoma Man Injures Sphincter Muscle Nerve When Climbing Device Breaks -- $247,300 Award

Plaintiff, age 31, injured his sphincter muscle nerve when he fell out of a tree while using a climbing device sold by Wal-Mart. Plaintiff fell after a step on the device broke. Wal-Mart and the device's manufacturer admitted liability. The jury awarded plaintiff $213,400 and awarded plaintiff's wife $33,900 for loss of consortium.

Cook v. Cobra Manufacturing Co., Inc. and Wal-Mart, Craig County (OK) District Court, Case No. C-93-109. Dennis D. King and Jim Keeley, Tulsa, OK for plaintiffs. Richard M. Heally,III for Wal-Mart.


Obese Woman Suffers Multiple Injuries When Exercise Bike Purchased From Wal-Mart Collapses -- Louisiana Appeals Court Reverses Judgment for Wal-Mart, Awards Plaintiff $10,469.72

Plaintiff, who weighed between 450-500 pounds, strained her cervix and injured her mouth, shoulder, arm, leg, knee and ankle when an exercise bike purchased from Wal-Mart collapsed while she was riding it. The owner's manual did not list a maximum weight limit for the machine. Plaintiff failed to prove lost income or entitlement to future medical expenses.

The trial court entered judgment for Wal-Mart. On appeal, the appeals court reversed the trial court's judgment and entered judgment for plaintiff. It awarded plaintiff $10,000 for general damages and $469.72 for past medical expenses, but declined to award plaintiff anything for past lost income or future medical expenses.

Judy Dunne v. Wal-Mart, 679 So. 2d 1034 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1996). R. Ray Orrill, Jr., New Orleans, LA for plaintiff. Nelson W. Wagar III, Metairie, LA for Wal-Mart.


Wal-Mart Fails To Produce Documents in Falling Merchandise Case -- Court Affirms Award of Attorney Fees to Plaintiff

Plaintiff fractured her left femur when 8-12 falling ironing boards knocked her down in a Wal-Mart store. The store moved to disqualify plaintiff's counsel on the theory that the firm represented the store in cases substantially related to this case, but it failed to seek review of the district court's denial of that motion.

The store failed to establish that the documents that the court compelled it to produce contained confidential communications. It was not an abuse of discretion for the court to enter a judgment on liability against Wal-Mart for failing to comply with discovery orders when the store refused to produce requested documents, since the documents were not protected. It was not an abuse of discretion to award plaintiff attorney fees for the store's failure to comply with the discovery requests.

It was an abuse of discretion to award plaintiff attorney fees for the Wal-Mart's attempt to obtain a pre-emptory writ of mandamus, since the store attempted in good faith to establish a change in the law.

Judgment awarding plaintiff attorney fees for pre-emptory writ of mandamus was reversed; otherwise, judgment for the plaintiff was affirmed.

Jewell Greenwalt v. Wal-Mart, 567 N.W.2d 560 (Neb. 1997). Michael J. Javoronok, Gering, NE and Robert P. Chaloupka, Scottsbluff, NE for plaintiff. Philip M. Kelly and Jerald L. Ostdiek, Scottsbluff, NE for Wal-Mart.

Editor's Note: For an extensive discussion of an important failure-to-make-discovery section against Wal-Mart, which includes discussion of other cases, see Bob Van Voris, "Wal-Mart Cited for Discovery Abuse", the National Law Journal (May 3, 1999), p. 1. See also, Nathan Koppel, "Superstore's Supersanction," Texas Lawyer (May 3, 1999), p. 1.

 

Disclaimer Notice

The Wal-Mart Litigation Project has no affiliation with Wal-Mart (Walmart) itself.
The Wal-Mart Litigation Project is solely coordinated by Lewis L. Laska and has no affiliation with any other organization, institution or entity.
It has no affiliation with the company whose headquarters is in Bentonville, Arkansas and operates under the trade names Walmart,Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Wal-Mart Associates Inc., Wal-Mart Discount Stores, Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc., Sam's Club, Sam's Wholesale Club, Sam's Club Members Only, Sam's Club We Mean Business, Sam's Club Membership Warehouse for Business and other companies related to Wal-Mart, or Claims Management Inc., Wal-Mart's captive insurer.