A Walmart shopper who broke his hip buying a watermelon can, if he wants, hire a butler to lift the supermarket’s fruit from now on: AL.com reports that Alabama resident Henry Walker will be receiving $7.5 million of the company’s money for injuries he sustained back in 2015, when he was 59, trying to get himself a melon. He told the jury that he slipped while reaching for it, and got his foot caught in a wood pallet Walmart left negligently protruding. He fell to the floor — but his stuck leg didn’t, fracturing his hip in a way that permanently maimed him.
Walker told the court that he’s an Army vet, and that before the injury, he played basketball three times a week with friends, but unfortunately he’s now walker-bound. “You don’t expect to go into a grocery store walking fine on your two feet and come out on a stretcher,” his attorney Shaun O’Hara said. He added that they hope the award convinces Walmart to make sure all stores use pallet guards, something that’s an industry standard in supermarkets, but was MIA at that particular Walmart. Walker’s attorneys also rounded up surveillance footage of “several other people hav[ing] their feet caught” in pallets on Walmart produce aisles, so it seems this wasn’t a one-time thing.
It was, however, enough to convince the jury to give him $2.5 million in compensatory damages plus another $5 million in punitive damages. Walmart says it’s “disappointed in the verdict,” believes that the damages “were excessive in light of the facts,” and plans to appeal.