Just ask Gonzo: TV injury case against Wal-Mart settles

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 18, 2007, 5:37pm

Question: I've been following civil lawsuits against Wal-Mart for years and ran across your article during an Internet search about a woman who wants $500,000 for a television that was dropped on her, do you know the status of that case?

Esther Hosea-Kiner
St. Louis

Gonzo: The case you are referring to has settled, according to an order issued by Chief District Judge G. Patrick Murphy on Jan. 17.

Murphy entered his order to clear all other hearing dates in the case.

Donna Barnett claimed that on Nov. 26, 2004, she was looking through DVDs at the Olney Wal-Mart store when an employee removing a television from a vertical stack dropped the television on her causing serious injuries.

She filed suit in federal court June 7, 2006, seeking $500,000 in damages for injuries she claims she sustained.

Represented by Fred Johnson of Mattoon, Barnett claimed her injuries caused pain, suffering, disability, medical expenses and loss of a normal life.

According to Barnett, Wal-Mart failed to instruct her to move away when removing the television, failed to seek assistance in removing the television and failed to ensure that the customers were not in the area where the employee was removing the television.

On Jan. 2, she filed an amended complaint adding that Wal-Mart arranged for a sale under circumstances it knew would cause severe overcrowding in the electronics department and that merchandise could not be removed safely.

Wal-Mart responded by admitting that a television did come into contact with Barnett, but denies she was injured to the extent she claimed.

Wal-Mart also claimed a third-person reached underneath the employee who was removing the television.

Despite that, a week later the case settled and Murphy entered his order.

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