February 24, 2009
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
(305) 670-1101 Ext. 123
MIAMI — A Miami-Dade County jury sided with Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorneys, David M. Tarlow managing partner of the Ft. Lauderdale office, and a founding partner of the firm, Edward C. Prieto, of the Miami office, when the jury returned a defense verdict finding no negligence on the part of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
On September 30, 2004, the plaintiff alleged that a moving pallet jack, fully loaded with merchandise, struck her from behind. The stacked pallet, being steered by a Wal-Mart employee, prevented unobstructed visibility and collided with her.
The plaintiff alleged she intended to file a formal complaint post accident, but was advised by the overnight manager that she would have to return when the risk control manager was working. The plaintiff claimed the overnight manager was busy investigating another accident. Upon her return the following day, she was asked to return on another date. On her third return to the store, the incident report was processed. A Wal-Mart assistant manager testified that after the incident report was completed, she personally viewed several hours of the store’s surveillance video, and did not observe any accident. The video tapes were not preserved.
The plaintiff contends she sustained various injuries when she was struck in her back by the pallet jack, including disc herniations at L4-5 and at L5-S1. She subsequently underwent a two-level hemilaminectomy and diskectomy with instrumentation. A second surgery, to revise the Cygnus cage, was performed; and a recommended third surgery for placement of a morphine pump.
Plaintiff’s demand included past medical bills totaling $348,000.00. Future medicals estimated at $1.3 million (present value). Plaintiff sought another $1.8 million in future pain and suffering, and $500,000.00 in past pain and suffering.
The defense was adamant that the plaintiff had fabricated the incident, and that her injuries were the result of pre-existing medical conditions. Through the discovery process, the defense produced medical records to substantiate suspicion that the plaintiff suffered from pre-existing lumbar conditions, neither caused by nor aggravated by the alleged pallet jack incident. After one and half hours of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict finding the defense not responsible for plaintiff’s claims of $3.5 million.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is a Florida-based law firm providing legal services to corporations, government entities and individuals in the areas of commercial and civil litigation. With six offices throughout the State including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee, and attorneys licensed in several states including the U.S. Virgin Islands.