The holiday lawsuits have begun with two customers alleging negligence after being injured in the holiday stampede that killed temporary Wal-Mart worker Jdimytai Damour, 34. A father and son team — Fritz Mesadieu (51) and Jonathan Mesadieu (19) — are suing for their neck and back injuries (classic slip-and-fall injuries). In the meantime, police are reviewing tapes to search for the shoppers who stomped Damour to death. Below is the video showing little control over the surging crowd. In the meantime, the family of Damour have sued for his wrongful death.
Wal-Mart faces a tough case here. It is highly foreseeable that a stampede would occur absent proper restrictions and control.
Attorney Kenneth Mollins said his client were “literally carried from their position outside the store” and are now “suffering from pain in their neck and their back from being caught in that surge of people” that rushed into the Wal-Mart.
For the video, click here.
The defense is likely to attack the account as highly suspicious that two related adult males would suffer injuries in such a circumstance. This can lead to withering cross examination over claims of soft tissue damage (which does not show up on x-ray) and the ubiquitous back/neck injuries. They are seeking $2 million. Yet, the claim of “carelessness, recklessness, negligence” seem well-founded.
It now appears that there was prior warning that the crowd was unruly and that officers noticed a lack of order with the crowd and began to organize them into a line, remaining on site for about 30 minutes until the crowd had become orderly. This information cuts both ways. It shows action by Wal-Mart but it also shows prior knowledge of the problem.
Police are now searching for people who trampled the worker to death. A video shows that as many as a dozen people were knocked to the floor in the stampede of people trying to get into the store. The employee was “stepped on by hundreds of people” as other workers attempted to fight their way through the crowd, said Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming.
For the full story, click here.
19 thoughts on “Dead Worker’s Family and Two Wal-Mart Customers Sue As Police Investigate Wal-Mart Stampede”
That is my question too, Bob Esq!
How is their claim worth 2 million dollars?
The answer is, it’s not. They’re just greedy.
How did they come up with that amount?
Gross National Product divided by most recent census calculation of population?
Gee, if I had 2 million dollars, could I buy someone’s life?
“I would suggest a compromise position: These people’s parents should have beaten some sense into them before this happened”
Amen to that.
And I wholeheartedly agree about a little forethought and proper management too. I am of course addressing what to do in those moments where anarchy has already broken out and how we as a people can learn just like the passengers who stopped Richard Reid learned to control a situation instead of acting like a impotent bystander.
You know, several years back there was a horrific story about how 100 or so New Yorkers watched a woman knifed to death on the Queensboro Bridge (I think it was the Queensboro) and did nothing to help. 100 people or more. It seems to me we are teaching our people to walk quietly with our hands at our sides and wait for the police to do everything for us rather than empowering society as the constitution suggests, to maintain order. I see this incident as a poster worthy moment of that mentality and I hope that the response to this event will be better public awareness and instructions on how decent people can work together when confronted with anarchy and mob mentalities.
Maskeptic “This has not been my experience when dealing with persons in a heightened emotional state”
Then you’re not hitting them hard enough.
If the people in front were innocent as mespo suggested then had they turned and refused to trample to death this employee then they could have controlled the situation. You deter the first line and the other lines will stall, giving police or security gaurds time to start breaking up the crowd. If someone goes down you form a barrier around that person and refuse to let groups of people trample them.
“Anarchy plus anarchy does not beget order”
Really? So when police break out the batons and fire tear gas into a mob it doesn’t work?
When a terrorist is trying to light his shoe on fire, should the passengers sit quietly with their hands at their sides and ring the stewardess bell?
The fact is however unsavory it may be to some of you, violence is sometimes called for. Particularly when the lives of others are in danger. If we as a society would start teaching people how to react in a mob scene, and how to form simple lines of defense for injured persons, then this stuff would stop happening.
But instead what we have is people making excuses for this sort of mob mentality, declaring theres nothing that can be done and it’s every man for himself. And that assessment is correct only if you accept it. It’s time we as a people stop acting like sheep and start acting like human beings.
>but people tend to calm down once the fists actually start to fly
This has not been my experience when dealing with persons in a heightened emotional state.
>As for my “solution” constituting anarchy, what do folks in your neck of the woods call it when a stampeding mob tramples a human being to death?
Anarchy plus anarchy does not beget order.
Expecting individual bystanders to take action to restore order in this situation would have most likely caused even more injuries if not a full blown riot.
The threat of violence can serve as a deterrent and it certainly has the satisfaction of directness when it is employed, but the threat of violence against a perpetrator will prevent fewer crimes than forethought and proper management.
I would suggest a compromise position: These people’s parents should have beaten some sense into them before this happened.
Well MA I feel that people are accountable for their actions, and if “being present” at the “accident” includes standing on the victims head, then yes I believe they are accountable.
As for my “solution” constituting anarchy, what do folks in your neck of the woods call it when a stampeding mob tramples a human being to death? Order?
They had anarchy, my solution is citizens stop playing the helpless card all the time and start acting like human beings capable of maintaining order. If as mespo put it the only instigators were a group at the rear of the line, then obviously had the citzens in the front of the line turned and refused to be pushed, even resorting to reasonable violence in line with the situation, sure a few bloody noses may have occured, but people tend to calm down once the fists actually start to fly. When folks are physically willing to stand up for themselves, people may toss a few punches but quickly lose their stomach for it after catching a few in the face.
Of course my answer was extreme, and was in response to mespos extremely unlikely scenario that “only the rear was pushing”. In reality, no doubt the store video once it hits the news will show us a giddy, gleeful mob of price happy maniacs, laughing and pushing their way towards the IPOD shelf.
Sure some in the crowd might have been innocent, and the video will show them. But most I think you will find were apathetically trampling this man to death as they headed towards the bargain corner. I have little empathy or sympathy for them. In fact I have none.
What you are describing as a solution to a mob is riotous anarchy. And the example of group guilt you provided is as good an example of totalitarianism as I’ve ever seen espoused. WOW the idea that someone who is merely present at the scene of an accident could have the same culpability as the parties directly involved, that would make oppressing whiney minorities alot more efficient
The illusion is that there are ever black and white situations, the answer is almost always ‘all of the above’, except when it is ‘none of the above’. Cast off the shackles of bi-polar thinking!
You are absolutly correct however, but if facts like the one you describe exist then it changes the situation not one whit.
If someones pushing me physically in a line I’m going to turn around and push them back, and hit them about the head and shoulders if needed, until they stop. I suggest others do likewise.
There is no excuse here. If the people in front refused to be pushed they wouldn’t have been. People are not dumb animals and they should not act like them.
Sally & MaSkeptic:
What if it were proven to your satisfaction that the people at the rear of the line were the ones pushing and causing the panic, and that these plaintiffs were at the wrong place in the front of the line at the wrong time? Should they bear responsibility for those fools at the rear who caused the commotion? Nothing is really ever black and white is it?
1, December 3, 2008 at 2:33 pm
I think you misunderstand my point, and it took me another reading of your post to realize.
People should be held accountable for their actions. I’m saying that Wal-Mart and other retailers bear at least some responsibility for allowing such a potentially dangerous situation to develop
I see. Yes that makes sense and I do agree with your sentiment. Stores that allow crowds to get out of control should share in the responsibility to a degree. More so I feel for placing the poor employee up there alone who has to open the doors and face these crowds.
Of course I am more with the other side of the coin though, in that the true responsibility lies with the individual. In this case, hundreds of them. People are quick to make excuses (and courts) for mob mentalities which is why I feel mob mentalities have continued into the modern age. If we want to move away from such incidents then a zero tolerance approach to mob mentalities should be the new standard. If 100 people trample a poor young man to death just to save 50 bucks on an IPOD, then 100 people should be sitting in prison for manslaughter.
If a thousand do it, then send a thousand to prison. In all my wildest dreams I cannot fathom the level of dumb apathy required for these stampeding livestock to ignore a man that they are stepping on. Didn’t one of them think to help? Didn’t one of them grab a ball bat and start smacking others in the head till they moved back? Didn’t one of them have the human decency to forget for a moment their kids Darth Vader helmet, and focus on the poor soul lying in blood at their clumsy feet?
I see little room for such individuals in modern society and when I think of that young man, just going to work at a crappy job for a crappy wage, being murdered by a mob of blue dot blinded fools, I am literaly sickened.
The store has video camera’s no doubt and if I were the Nassau county prosecutor I wouldn’t rest until every one of these animals were arrested, charged and placed behind bars, even if for just a token sentence. Giving money to the guys sister, isn’t going to help him. He’s gone, and he’ll never see another sunrise again. Those people need to pay.
I see your point. What I am saying is that people still need to accept some personal responsibility in this situation. Wal-Mart
is not entirely at fault in this situation. Yes they should have handled the crowd differently, but was the chaos was caused by GROWN adults who should know better than to push and shove.
I am all for the family of the gentleman who was trampled to death to sue Wal-Mart or any individual that can be identified.
Those other two men, like I said before, are just trying to use a sad situation to their advantage. I don’t see how their claim is worth two million dollars. And I’ll never see it, because I really really believe that they are taking advantage of the situation and I think that is really disrespectful to the family that truly suffered a loss.
I think you misunderstand my point, and it took me another reading of your post to realize.
People should be held accountable for their actions. I’m saying that Wal-Mart and other retailers bear at least some responsibility for allowing such a potentially dangerous situation to develop.
To anyone who feels that exclusive culpability belongs to those who stormed the doors then consider that it wasn’t three or four people ignoring the deceased’s plight, it was several hundred. It was a mob mentality that overrode any sense of decency or humanity that each individual might possess.
The law for decades is that the store owner/occupier owes a duty to his business invitees to maintain a reasonably safe premises for them to shop and presumably to enter the store to accomplish this action. If Wal*mart was apprised of the dangerous situation or if the store management should have been aware this danger from the circumstances of soliciting such a unruly crowd at such an hour and did little or nothing,they stand liable.
I understand the Professor’s uneasiness with so-called soft tissue injuries, but it is instructive to remember that a knife in the gullet is likewise a “soft tissue” injury, but few would question its seriousness. Pain is pain, and the fact that medical science has no test to verify it makes it no less real. I am no pollyanna here, but the fact that the violence was sufficient to cause the death of a worker should lend some credence to these men’s claims. And as any logistician knows, the fact of two corresponding facts does not imply the falsity of either. Alas, juries are not composed of logisticians, it is true.
1, December 3, 2008 at 12:04 pm Should I bear full responsibility if I am enticed into a situation that shouldn’t be allowed to become dangerous but does?
The answer to your question is yes.
If you’re so inept and stupid as to not be able to control yourself when confronted with a “blue light special” then not only are you fully accountable for your actions, you probably shouldn’t be permitted to walk around in public.
Hopefully, the litigation will have the effect of stopping this 5am madness, which probably isn’t very profitable for the stores, anyway.
While I agree with you that they should lose what looks to be a money-grab I am interested to note that you seem to think that people should be expected to behave in an orderly fashion despite all evidence to the contrary. This is a high energy situation with a strongly competitive nature whose fires are deliberately stoked higher by artificial shortages. These sales are designed to create a stampede. Should I bear full responsibility if I am enticed into a situation that shouldn’t be allowed to become dangerous but does?
Wal-Mart did not knock this man down. They did not trample him. But they put him in the position of the man who unlocks the gates at the running of the bulls.
No one forced those men to show up at 4 am to buy useless made in China junk. They made the choice to get in line, push and shove, and act like a fool.
When are people going to take responsibility for their own actions? Do grown adults really need police officers to keep them in line while waiting to get into a store?
The problem is not so much lack of security as it is human kindness, respect, and manners. Maybe if we as a society quit acting like no one else in the world matters but them, things like this wouldn’t happen.
These men are just trying to take advantage of a sad situation so that can get rich quick. Their claim is not worth 2 million dollars. I hope they lose on this one
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