Most personal injury lawsuits against Wal-mart involve accidents that occur inside the store premises. However, in a recent lawsuit against Wal-mart, a 41 year old truck driver was injured when she slipped and fell on ice and grease while making a delivery to a Walmart store in northern Colorado.
The driver, Holly Averyt, underwent three spine surgeries as a result of the fall. Averyt was unable to return to work and she lost her truck.
Wal-Mart, which is known for their litigation tactics, told jurors there had been no grease spill at the store in Greeley. Averyt’s lawyers presented city documents during the trial that showed some grease from the store’s deli didn’t get trapped in a device designed to keep it from getting into the sewer.
A jury awarded $15 million to Averyt in November 2010. Wal-Mart appealed and a lower court granted the company a new trial, saying the award was “excessive, not supported by the evidence and could only be the result of prejudice and bias and the jury’s desire to punish Wal-Mart.”
Wal-Mart had also said in its appeal that Averyt’s attorneys failed to disclose the city documents.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday threw out the order for a new trial, saying Averyt’s attorneys had no requirement to disclose a document that could be easily found in public records. The court also said any prejudice the jury may have harbored toward Wal-Mart was due to its initial refusal to produce evidence or admit the existence of the grease spill.
Justices reduced the award amount by about $5 million because of a state cap on non-economic damages.
Large jury verdicts are often the result of anger at a defendant’s refusal to accept responsibility. Wal-Mart is notorious for their litigation tactics and denial of meritorious claims.
The verdict may appear large on its face, but it appears as if the Plaintiff was permanently disabled and lost her ability to work in the future. It is unfortunate that colorado has a cap on non-economic (pain and suffering) damages, because the verdict was reduced by $5million.
Florida currently has a cap on Pain and suffering damages in Medical Malpractice Cases. As a Florida Personal injury lawyer, we are currently fighting the cap on pain and suffering damages in Medical Malpractice Cases.