Written by AMLO.

MFTL wins $957,000 verdict against K-Mart

Fisher v. K-Mart

Fayette County (2000)

Audrey Fisher, age 78, was shopping in a Lexington K-Mart store when she tripped over a box of batteries. The box was left in the aisleway by a "store replenishment" employee.  When she fell, she shattered her hip and shoulder, resulting in multiple surgeries.  Her medical expenses were approximately $78,000.00.  K-Mart refused to even pay her medical expenses so she hired Austin Mehr to sue K-Mart. K-Mart refused to produce many of its safety documents, claiming they did not exist.  However, Mr. Mehr obtained copies of safety manuals, including a safety video from an engineer in California.  These documents clearly showed that K-Mart knew it was unsafe to leave boxes of material in the aisleways.  This was especially hazardous if the box was less than 12 inches tall.  The box Audrey Fisher tripped across was only about 8 inches tall.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals, in an unanimous opinion upheld the jury verdict.

Mr. Mehr then amended his complaint to allege punitive damages since K-Mart had created the very hazard that had seriously injured Audrey Fisher.  Since they had many safety manuals going back 15 years, and training videos instructing employees not to leave materials in the aisleway, this conduct appeared to warrant punishment of K-Mart.

The jury agreed.  After a three day trial, the jury awarded $957,000.00, including $500,000.00 in punitive damages.

K-Mart appealed the case.  However, the Kentucky Court of Appeals, in an unanimous opinion upheld the jury verdict.

Although K-Mart filed a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the entire judgment amount was collected.  Mr. Mehr had requested the Court to require K-Mart to post a supersedeas bond while they appealed.  This was to ensure that his client would be able to collect the judgment after the lengthy appeal.