The holiday carnage has begun. An employee at the Long Island Wal-Mart was trampled to death as shoppers stampeded to grab special deals on “Black Friday” after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, the video below shows shoppers at another Wal-Mart fighting each other over the last XBox in the store.
The 34-year-old temporary employee was a maintenance worker who tried to hold back the eager crowd just after the store opened at 5 a.m. When they knocked him over, the crowd continued to step on him despite his pleas and obvious effort to breathe. A co-worker, Jimmy Overby, 43, witnessed the attack: “He was bum-rushed by 200 people. They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back.”
Even as emergency workers tried to save the worker, people stepped or jumped over them to get into the store.
During the melee, a 29-year-old pregnant woman was also knocked to the floor and stepped on. Three other shoppers reported injuries.
We discuss the liability of stores in our torts class, particularly in light of the Weirum v. RKO decision holding a radio station liable for injuries caused to a third party when teenagers drove recklessly to find The Real Don Steele in his marked van. The court held that the reckless driving was a foreseeable response of teenagers to the promise of free concert tickets.
A union has already alleged that the stampede was foreseeable and could have been prevented, here. It seems litigation is likely.
Stores are obviously aware of the dangers of such stampedes. Indeed, some stores like Filene’s Basement market pictures of the rush of shoppers to entice others to their deals. This is a typical case of presumed negligence of a store to properly control the foreseeable rush of shoppers. There is a video this week of parents tearing each other apart at another Wal-Mart over the last available XBox. For a video of crowds fighting over the last XBox, click here.
For the full story, click here.
In the meantime, two are dead at a Toy R Us in Palm Desert, California. Witnesses reported an altercation followed by gunshots. Two women got into a fist fight near a check out counter and the men with them finished the fight with gunfire. For the story, click here.
So much for good will and cheer.
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