International Desk Report : Army veteran Henry Walker was trying to buy a watermelon at a Walmart in Alabama when his foot got stuck in a wooden pallet. When he turned, the 59-year-old fell, breaking his hip.
Walker sued Walmart over the 2015 incident, and an Alabama jury has ruled that he should be awarded $7.5 million.
“You don’t expect to go into a grocery store walking fine on your two feet and come out on a stretcher,” Walker’s attorney Shaun O’Hara told AL.com. A Walmart spokesman said the company plans to appeal.
“We are disappointed in the verdict,” said the spokesman, Randy Hargrove. “We appreciate the jury’s service, however we believe that the damages awarded were excessive in light of the facts of this case.”
The incident unfolded June 25, 2015, when Walker went to a Walmart store in Phenix City, Ala., according to court documents.
Walker reached to pick a melon from a display, and his foot became lodged in the pallet under the watermelon container. He turned, unaware that the pallet was there, and fell and shattered his hip, court documents state.
He sued the retail giant on claims of negligence and wantonness. Attorneys presented the case Tuesday and Wednesday in Russell County Circuit Court.
Walmart had a responsibility to its customers to provide a safe environment and should have known the pallet could cause an injury, his lawyers argued. But the company said the display was not dangerous, according to a Wednesday court filing.
The jury deliberated for about two hours late Wednesday before ruling in favor of Walker, awarding him $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
“I think this jury appreciated what Mr. Walker went through and they compensated him accordingly,” another one of his attorneys, David Rayfield, told the Ledger-Enquirer. “This is a great verdict for the community because this jury wanted to make sure it was safe for shoppers.”
Source : Washingpost