A man named Henry Walker who resides in Phenix City, Alabama was awarded $7.5 million in damages on Wednesday from Walmart two years after he fell at his local store and broke his hip.
According to court documents, Walker fell while reaching for a watermelon that was in a container by accidentally getting his foot stuck in a wood pallet that the watermelons were sitting atop. One of Walker’s attorneys, Shaun O’Hara, argued that the top of the pallet wasn’t visible and that several other customers who just wanted a contained watermelon got their foot stuck that day, too. Jurors reportedly saw surveillance footage that indicates this.
The jury sided with Walker on both of his claims: wantonness and negligence. Walmart did not, according to the negligence claim, reasonably care about the safety of that particular watermelon display. As a result, Walker will be awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, according to AL.com.
O’Hara said of Walker’s distressing situation, “You don’t expect to go into a grocery store walking fine on your two feet and come out on a stretcher.”
The Associated Press reports that Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said on Thursday that the company thinks Walker was awarded too much money and they’re planning on appealing the decision.