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.
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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.
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