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$1.3M Award in Walmart Negligent Assembly Case

Jury finds Walmart Responsible for Man’s Injury in Port St Lucie FL

Gloria Seidule won a $1,287,144 Slip and Fall Injury law suit against Walmart in a negligent maintenance and assembly case against Walmart on February 7, 2013.  Walmart appealed and lost. In addition to the jury verdict, Gloria Seidule’s client recovered attorney’s fees, costs and interest for a total recovery of $1,548,297.73. The jury found Walmart negligently assembled and maintained a Gatorade sign that had fallen to the floor causing Tom Papakalodoukas, age 41, to violently fall to the ground tearing his biceps tendon in his right dominant arm.

Case Evidence

The evidence showed Walmart discarded the display sign after the fall even though it knew from store surveillance the display was the reason the sign fell causing serious injury to their customer.  Walmart then defended the case claiming the display had been properly assembled and maintained.  Walmart then blamed Gatorade for providing plastic screws that could easily brake to attach the sign to the display.

Attorney Gloria Seidule countered Walmart’s defense by presenting evidence, provided by the national Gatorade headquarters in Dallas, Texas, that if assembled properly, in accordance with Gatorade directions, the sign could not have fallen to the ground. If the screws broke or came loose, it was Walmart’s duty to maintain the sign to ensure the safety of their customers.

Due to Walmart’s failure to preserve the Gatorade display, the Court instructed the jury that it could infer negligence if it found the incident would not normally happen absent negligence and the display was in the exclusive control of Walmart.

Jury Deliberation in Walmart Slip and Fall Injury Case

The Jury deliberated 4 hours and found Walmart 90% at fault for the severe injuries of its customer. Mr. Papakalodoukas has endured three major surgeries in two years due to the negligence of Wal-Mart. During the final surgery, doctors inserted a cadaver achilles tendon into his arm to assist in restoring strength optimal function. Walmart hired Dr. Zeide, an orthopedist commonly hired by Walmart and other defendants on the Treasure Coast, to opine Mr. Papakalodoukas was not injured in the violent fall, and that all of his surgeries were due to an existing disease.  Dr. Zeide has never seen the patient, nor did he know what his current condition was. Instead, Dr. Zeide based his opinion on medical records of other doctors from the past. However, when cross-examined, Dr Zeide admitted Mr. Papakalodoukas did not have any tendon or shoulder pain before the fall and that the pain started after the fall. Dr. Zeide admitted he was no longer a surgeon even though the first line on his resume states “Orthopedic Surgery”.  Dr. Zeide offered an opinion Mr. Papakalodoukas could work, even though the patient’s own treating surgeon had not yet cleared him for work.

Mr. Papakalodoukas has been left with a lifelong defect called a “popeye deformity,” which is a malformed right bulging bicep tendon that creates abnormal bulges on his arm.  Due to this fact, he has not been able to return to his former work as a beverage distribution manager.

Walmart Found Responsible for this Injury

Through the efforts of Gloria Seidule, her client received a 1.287 million dollar verdict after the jury found Walmart was responsible for failing to keep its store clean and safe for its customers. Walmart denied liability and blamed her client for his injury. She was able to prove that Walmart failed to preserve evidence and was at fault for the sign falling to the floor causing very serious injuries to her client.

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall injury call The Law Off of Gloria Seidule for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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