Plaintiff seeks to add punitive damage claim in Wal-Mart suit

Christina Stueve Hodges Aug. 16, 2012, 8:21am

Wal-Mart store sign

A plaintiff in a Madison County personal injury suit against Wal-Mart is seeking to add punitive damages to the complaint.

Judy Davis, who sued Wal-Mart and three individuals over a trip in a parking lot in 2010, filed a motion for leave to file a punitive damages claim on Aug. 14.

She asserts that Wal-Mart "should not be permitted to treat human beings on a second tier below corporate profits."

The suit claims Davis visited Wal-Mart on July 15, 2010 when she stepped into a hole while attempting to load bags into her car.

According to Davis's motion, Wal-Mart answered discovery revealing that Davis was not the first person to be injured in the parking lot at the Glen Carbon Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart admitted another customer suffered injury in the same parking lot, the motion states.

Wal-Mart did not provide the requested contact information for this individual in its answers to the plaintiff's interrogatories, the motion states.

Davis states that she also learned about another lawsuit against Wal-Mart by a patron who fell in a hole in the same parking lot on Oct. 27, 2009, less than seven months prior to the plaintiff's injury, the motion states.

"It is unfortunate that Wal-Mart places the 'sales of our store' above the safety of Madison County resident customers who come to that store to make purchases," the motion states. "But that is what transpired here. Businesses and particular large corporations like Wal-Mart should not be permitted to treat human beings on a second tier below corporate profits. This action is one that begs for imposition of punitive damages, so that Wal-Mart and other corporations get the message (that) customer sales are not more important than the safety of our family, friends and neighbors.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge on July 25 ordered the parties to submit proposed trial dates within seven days by e-mail.

Two days earlier, Mudge scheduled an Aug. 13 trial date.

He indicated that he would review proposals and re-set the date.

Because of the incident, Judy Davis says she experienced permanent injuries to her lower extremities and suffered pain, according to the complaint.

The suit seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.

Brian M. Wendler of Wendler Law in Edwardsville represents Davis.

James Borland of Quinn, Johnston, Henderson, Pretorius & Cerulo represents the defense.

Madison County case number 10-L-1251.

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