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Jury awards $7.5 million in Walmart slip and fall lawsuit case

Georgia residents may have read media reports about a man who was awarded $7.5 million in damages after filing a slip and fall lawsuit against Walmart. The 61-year-old Alabama man sued the big-box retailer on claims of wantonness and negligence after breaking his hip at a Phenix City Walmart store in 2015. After deliberating for approximately two hours, the Russell County Circuit Court jury awarded the man $5 million in punitive damages and $2.5 million in compensatory damages.

According to the lawsuit, the man suffered his injury when his foot became lodged in a pallet that was being used to display watermelons. The man claims that he fell when he turned to walk away from the display after picking up a watermelon. The man's attorneys say that Walmart should have covered the pallet to protect shoppers from injury.

A Walmart representative said that the company plans to file an appeal. Walmart says that the pallets, which are delivered to stores prepackaged and ready for display, are still in use and pose no threat to shoppers. However, the jury rejected these arguments after watching security footage showing that the feet of other shoppers had also become stuck in the pallet.

The plaintiffs in premises liability lawsuits may be awarded punitive damages when building owners or landlords knew of dangerous conditions and failed to take appropriate action. Personal injury attorneys with experience in this area may view surveillance footage, interview employees and visitors or check court records for previous litigation to gather the evidence needed to establish a reckless and intentional disregard for the safety of others.

Source: Fortune, "Jury Awards $7.5M to Man For Walmart Watermelon Injury", Chris Morris, Nov. 10, 2017

Source: The Washington Post, "He says he shattered his hip buying a watermelon at Walmart. A jury awarded him $7.5 million.", Ellie Silverman, Nov. 10, 2017

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