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South Carolina Woman Awarded $10 Million After Stepping On Rusty Nail In Walmart That Forced An Amputation: ‘Sent a Message’

April Jones of Florence, South Carolina, was recently awarded $10 million after she had to get her leg amputated after stepping on a rusty nail in a Walmart retail store roughly six years ago. 

Anastopoulo Law Firm/Wikipedia Commons

“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 from the Anastopoulo Law Firm, said in a news release.” “We are forever grateful,” he added. 

“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. No such evidence was presented for the duration of the five-day-long trial,” the release stated.

The incident occurred on June 26, 2015, while Jones was shopping in the store’s central aisle, when she saw several pallets, her 2017 lawsuit stated. The court documents obtained by The Washington Post noted that the woman started to feel pain in her right foot and heard a scraping sound under her shoe. When she saw the nail had gone through her sandal, the suit claims Jones alerted a Walmart associate. 

The woman claimed she stepped on a rusty nail, which caused an infection, though the exact type wasn’t mentioned. Jones ultimately had to have three separate amputations. Initially, she had to have her second toe on her right foot amputated before three more toes were removed.

Doctors suggested Jones have a portion of her foot amputated, according to court records, but she declined that option. Instead, she began seeing a podiatrist and had a home nurse tend to her foot daily. Yet eight months after Jones was wounded, she woke up, she said, and found her foot was black.

Eventually, doctors had to amputate Jones’s right leg just above the knee due to the infection — although the exact kind of infection wasn’t specified. Jones was left wheelchair-bound for six years. Her lawyers claimed that the woman, who lived alone and was entirely independent before the injuries, has had to rely on her adult children for help. 

“I was supposed to actually go to Disney World with my grandson … but I won’t be going,” she said, adding that someone would need to push her wheelchair around the park. “I feel it would … lessen the fun for everybody else, and I don’t want that.”

Meanwhile, lawyers for the retail company argued that “The mere presence of a wood pallet on the sales floor is not circumstantial evidence that Walmart put a roofing nail on the floor.”

A jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning with their verdict last week, WMBF News reported. Jones’ lawyer said she’ll use the money to purchase a prosthetic, make her home more handicap-accessible, and handle medical expenses.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove released a statement opposing the verdict, stating that “​Walmart works hard to help ensure that all customers have a safe experience shopping in our stores.”

The statement continued, “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. We have filed post-trial motions with the court.”

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