An Alabama man was awarded $7.5 million after he fell getting a watermelon out of a container at a Walmart store.
In July 2015, while reaching for a watermelon, the man’s foot got caught in the wooden pallet under the container, causing him to fall. As a result, he suffered serious injuries, including a broken hip. The man now uses a walker and can no longer do everyday activities that he was accustom to before the fall.
The man filed a lawsuit against Walmart alleging negligence. Walmart had a duty to "exercise reasonable care, to maintain and keep its premises in a reasonable safe condition, and to warn the public of unsafe and hazardous conditions," according to the suit. The suit further stated that the store should have known the hidden pallet was likely to cause an injury. Walmart maintained that the pallet was not dangerous, and that any negligence was the plaintiff’s fault. In fact, to this date, Walmart continues to display the watermelons in the same manner.
After deliberating for approximately two hours, the jury awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. A spokesperson for Walmart said that the award was excessive in light of the facts and that the retailer plans to appeal.
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