Wal-Mart Parking Lot Shooting Victim Wins $4.2 Million Lawsuit

Wal-Mart Parking Lot Shooting Victim Wins $4.2 Million Lawsuit

A Georgia state court jury awarded $4.2 million in damages to a woman who was shot during a 2001 carjacking in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The verdict ruled against both Wal-Mart and the man who shot the victim.

Katoria Lee stopped at the Wal-Mart for party supplies at about 1:30 a.m. on her way home from work. She left her son sleeping in her Ford Explorer, which she parked near the front store entrance under a light pole.

As Lee exited the store, 17-year-old Eric Riggins, who was waiting in the parking lot, approached her and demanded her keys. When Lee dropped the keys and ran, Riggins shot her in the back. However, Lee was able to pull her son out of the SUV before the shooter drove it away.

The Wal-Mart had closed circuit cameras but no security guards on hand. The company handed the video surveillance tapes over to the police for Riggins’ criminal trial, but when asked for those same tapes for the civil suit, claimed they had destroyed them.

Lee, 35, survived the shooting and now lives with chronic pain, restricted movement in her right arm, and permanent nerve damage, her lawyer, Lance Cooper said.

The lawsuit was filed based on the lack of security at that Wal-Mart shopping center. The prosecution showed the jury a list of 398 police visits to that store during the previous 20 months.

“This is exactly what Wal-Mart should have expected,” Cooper said. They should have known all these violent crimes had occurred there and they should have expected more to occur on their property, Cooper argued.

“The jury was influenced primarily by the number of crimes there,” Cooper said. “Wal-Mart’s defense was they had no notice that a shooting would occur.”

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