A 49 year old man slipped and fell at a local Kroger supermarket and suffered a spinal cord compression and myelopathy at C3-T1and underwent surgery for placement of multiple rods and screws to stabilize his spine.
He continues to suffer from chronic lower back pain, nerve pain in his lower extremities, and a loss of mobility, and he has a 30 percent whole-body impairment. He is now permanently disabled.
The Plaintiff sued the store, alleging that spilled fruit constituted a hazard on the premises and that the defendant was negligent in failing to discover and remove the spill or guard the area and warn of the danger.
The store’s video surveillance system monitored the area near where the plaintiff fell. During discovery, the plaintiff requested a copy of the recording from the time of the incident, but the store indicated that it no longer had the recording. The manager claimed he did not preserve the footage because the fall was not captured but an inspection of the video system showed that the camera was centered on the spot where Walters fell and not on the location shown in the other image.
The trial court penalized Kroger for deliberately destroying evidence and struck the store’s defenses. The jury awarded $2.3 million.