A man has been awarded $7.5 million by a jury in the state of Alabama following an incident in which his hip broke while he was shopping at a Walmart store. Henry Walker was reaching for a watermelon inside a Walmart outlet in the southern U.S. state when his foot became trapped inside a wooden pallet. On turning the then-59-year-old fell and broke his hip. The lawsuit was filed in 20015 soon after the incident. One of Mr. Walker’s lawyers, David Rayfield, welcomed the jury’s decision.
“I think this jury appreciated what Mr. Walker went through and they compensated him accordingly. This is a great verdict for the community because this jury wanted to make sure it was safe for shoppers,” Rayfield said.
Walmart to appeal
According to a Walmart spokesperson the retail giant planned to file an appeal against the jury’s decision saying the damages that had been awarded were excessively high given the facts. The incident occurred on June 25, 2015.
After suing the retail giant accusing it of wantonness and negligence, Mr. Walker’s lawyers argued that Walmart should have provided an environment that was safe and should have been aware that a pallet could lead to injuries. In a court filing Walmart denied that the display posed any danger.
Deliberations by the jury took about two hours before Mr. Walker was awarded punitive damages to the tune of $5 million and compensatory damages to the tune of $2.5 million. In their deliberations members of the jury reviewed security footage obtained from the store. According to one of Mr. Walker’s lawyers, their client was not the only one who got their foot stuck as the same happened to many others though with less disastrous consequences.
No longer active
Following the incident the life of Walker was completely changed as he is no longer active physically. Prior to the incident he played basketball at least three days in a week but now has to walk around with the assistance of a walker.
This comes in the wake of Walmart raising the prices of products sold online in a bid to drive store traffic while at the same time boosting profits from online sales. Some of the products whose prices have been increased include daily household items. Walmart is not alone in this as other big-box retailers also tend to charge more for items they sell online. This includes Costco Wholesale Corp. This is a new strategy for Walmart as initially prices were the same both offline and online.