Thanksgiving and the Black Friday weekend are fun times to enjoy family, food, and bargain hunting. The malls and gigantic department stores are competing for customers with discount deals Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately, with increased crowd sizes comes unforeseen dangers.
In 2012, An Oklahoma woman was injured looking for “Black Friday” deals at Walmart. Stephanie Doyle was rummaging through Walmart’s overcrowded store when she stumbled on a skateboard. “According to Ms. Doyle, she ‘propelled a little forward and then fell back,’ and the skateboard rolled down the aisle.” Ms. Doyle sued Wal–Mart alleging that her spill and “injuries ‘were the direct result of [Wal–Mart’s] negligence which caused a hidden trap or snare or pitfall’ and seek[s] damages in excess of $75,000.” The lawsuit is currently in litigation.
Next, we have a story of Walmart charging the wrong person’s credit card during checkout. In South Carolina, Mr. Solanki went hunting for “Black Friday” deals at his local Walmart. Mr. Solanki tried to use the self-checkout lane but experienced complications. A Walmart employee attempted to hand-key Mr. Solanki’s credit card number but mistakenly used the credit card of Robin Martin. Mr. Martin called the police when he observed the charges on his account. The police contacted Walmart and they supplied the police with video and receipts from the transaction. Mr. Solanki was arrested and charged with credit card fraud for unwittingly charging his items to Mr. Martin’s credit card. Mr. Solanki spent six nights in jail due to Walmart’s mistake. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Solanki’s charges for the credit card fraud were dismissed when everyone realized Walmart’s employee made the error. Can you imagine the nightmare of being arrested when you did nothing wrong? Mr. Solanki filed a complaint against Walmart and the cops for negligence. The jury returned a verdict against Walmart for negligence, and awarded Mr. Solanki $50,000 in actual damages and $225,000 in punitive damages.
In 2013, “Black Friday ” at Walmart was the scene of a scuffle between a Walmart employee and a customer. During a shopping excursion at Walmart, Clyde Williams alleges that a security guard employed by Walmart began to “loudly, degradingly, abusively, and angrily” scream at him. Williams contends that the security guard then “viciously physically attacked and assaulted him.” Soon afterwards, Williams was escorted by ambulance to the hospital where he received medical care. Williams v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2014 WL 1409438 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 10, 2014). Williams sued Walmart alleging personal injuries he incurred as a result of an assault and battery that occurred in Walmart. The case is currently in litigation.
The most terrifying “Black Friday” story comes to us from Long Island, New York where a Walmart employee was trampled to death by crazed shoppers. Jdimytai Damour, 34, was bashed to the ground by a horde of uncontrollable shoppers rushing into the Walmart as the doors opened. Four other customers were reported injured in the incident. The trampled employee, Mr. Damour, was pronounced dead an hour later.
Walmart is not the only store where holiday shoppers have been injured during “Black Friday.” A woman was allegedly trampled by crazed shoppers while entering a Jacksonville Target. Linda Chewning filed a negligence action seeking damages for serious bodily injury. Due to the tumble at Target, Chewning claims she broke her shoulder, developed carpal tunnel syndrome, developed arthritis, and lost work for over six weeks. This lawsuit is currently in litigation.
It is the store’s responsibility to keep the environment safe at all times—including “Black Friday.” Property owner must maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for business invitees, including employees of independent contractors. Strickland v. Timco Aviation Services, Inc., 66 So. 3d 1002 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 2011). A property owner owes two duties to its business invitees: (1) to warn of concealed dangers which are or should be known to the owner and which are unknown to the invitee and cannot be discovered through the exercise of due care; and (2) to use ordinary care to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition. Rocamonde v. Marshalls of Ma, Inc., 56 So. 3d 863 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 2011).
The trial attorneys at Dolman Law Group have successfully handled negligence and premises liability cases in multiple Florida jurisdictions. If you or someone you love has been harmed on someone else’s property, the owner may be accountable for the injuries suffered. Call us if you have any questions regarding your legal issues.
Dolman Law Group
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Clearwater, FL 33765