A South Carolina woman was awarded $10 million by a jury after she sued Walmart because she had her right leg imputed after stepping on a rusty needle in one of the company's stores. April Jones stepped on the nail at a Florence, South Carolina Walmart store in 2015, and filed the lawsuit in 2017. The injury led to a severe infection and three amputation surgeries.
Jones first had a toe amputated on her right foot, then three more toes were amputated, leaving her with only her big toe. During the last surgery, her right leg was amputated above the knee. She has had to rely on her children for assistance and has used a wheelchair exclusively for three years, her attorneys at the Anastopoulo Law Firm said, reports The State. Jones plans to use the award to by a prosthetic leg and update her home to make it more handicap accessible. She will also use the money to pay medical bills.
"The jury sent a message to Walmart that if you come into Florence County and injure one of their own, they will make sure that person is taken care (of)," Roy Willey, one of Jones' attorneys, said. "We are forever grateful."
The jury deliberated for an hour and a half after the five-day-long trial, the Anastopoulo Law Firm said. "The weakness of Walmart's case, among other things, was their failure to produce a video that they claim showed their conforming behavior to a company policy calling for employees to perform regular safety sweeps," the firm's statement read. "No such evidence was presented for the duration of the five-day-long trial."
It could be some time before Jones sees the monetary reward though, as Walmart is planning to file post-trial motions. "Walmart works hard to help ensure that all customers have a safe experience shopping in our stores," the company said in a statement to The State. "We appreciate the jury's service, however we do not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence or that Ms. Jones' injury resulted from what was alleged in her complaint."
This isn't the only big legal victory for a Walmart customer this week. In Mobile, Alabama, Lesleigh Nurse was awarded $2.1 million by a jury. She sued Walmart in 2018 after an employee accused her of shoplifting. She was even arrested and had her mugshot taken before criminal charges were dropped. Walmart said it planned to file post-trial motions in that case as well.
"We want our customers to have a safe, pleasant shopping experience in our stores," Walmart old WKRG. "We take measures to help prevent, identify and appropriately handle instances of theft, which is a problem for all retailers that costs the overall U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars each year. We continue to believe our associates acted appropriately. We don't believe the verdict is supported by the evidence and the damages awarded exceed what is allowed by law. We will be filing post-trial motions."