Jury awards Alabama man $7.5 million in Walmart watermelon mishap
Nov 13 2017 by Joanne Wise
Walker, 59 at the time of the incident, was awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages by the seven-black, five-white member jury. They also plan to appeal the verdict. As Walker reached for the watermelon, his foot got stuck in the side of a wooden pallet under the display.
Unless the verdict is overturned on appeal, an Alabama jury just made a multi-millionaire out of a man who took a fall after getting a watermelon at a Phenix City Walmart.
Later, Water sued the retail giant on claims of "negligence and wantonness".
"We are disappointed in the verdict", Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said Thursday, according to The Associated Press. Attorneys presented the case Tuesday and Wednesday in Russell County Circuit Court.
His lawyers argued: "Walmart had a responsibility to its customers to provide a safe environment and should have known the pallet could cause an injury".
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In court records and in testimony, Walmart has maintained that the display was not risky, and that any negligence was Walker's fault.
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.
"I think this jury appreciated what Mr".
Walmart says there is nothing risky about the display, which is used at stores around the country.
O'Hara told AL.com that the incident "completely changed Henry Walker's life". In fact, the same displays are still used, it said.