WAL­MART SHOP­PER HURT BUYING MELON WINS $ 7.5M VER­DICT

Chicago Sun-Times - - POLITICS - AP

PHENIX CITY, Ala. — An Alabama man who said he tripped and broke his hip while buying a wa­ter­melon at a Wal­mart store has won a $ 7.5 mil­lion ver­dict in his law­suit against the re­tailer.

Henry Walker on Wed­nes­day was awarded the da­m­ages af­ter a jury trial in Phenix City, Alabama, just west of the Ge­or­gia state line, court records show.

Walker had sued Arkansas­based Wal- Mart Stores Inc., say­ing his foot be­came trapped in a pal­let be­neath the wa­ter­mel­ons as he reached for one of the fruits at a Phenix City Wal­mart on June 25, 2015.

“We are dis­ap­pointed in the ver­dict,” Wal­mart spokesman Randy Har­grove said Thurs­day. “We ap­pre­ci­ate the jury’s ser­vice, how­ever we be­lieve that the da­m­ages awarded were ex­ces­sive in light of the facts in this case. We plan to ap­peal.”

Wal­mart should have cov­ered the pal­let so that it could not en­tan­gle a shop­per’s foot, Charles Gower, one of Walker’s at­tor­neys, told The Colum­bus Ledger- En­quirer.

In court records and in tes­ti­mony, Wal­mart has main­tained that the dis­play was not dan­ger­ous and that any neg­li­gence was Walker’s fault. In fact, the same dis­plays are still used, it said.

“Wal­mart con­tin­ues to dis­play wa­ter­mel­ons in the same man­ner as it did on June 25, 2015,” the com­pany said in a court fil­ing on Wed­nes­day. “These dis­plays come to the store from the pro­ducer al­ready pack­aged and ready to be dropped and dis­played.”

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