An American is suing Wal-mart on grounds the multi-national retail store is responsible for the death of his wife. He is also suing Hilex Poly Co, the South Carolina-based manufacturers of plastic bags used by Wal-mart.

The incident happened in a Wal-mart store in Bellevue, Nebraska, in April 2010. William Freis claims his wife went to the store and bought two 42oz cans of La Choy soy sauce and a two-pound bag of rice. The items were reportedly packed into a single plastic bag, which broke under the weight and the cans broke Lynette Freis' right big toe as they fell.

Freis alleges the subsequent infection from the cut was widespread and despite antibiotics and surgery, his wife was admitted to a hospital for further treatment. Lynette Freis died on 12 March, 2011.

According to The Lincoln Journal Star, Freis' suit alleges that the Wal-mart cashier who billed and bagged his wife's purchases failed to distribute the weight across multiple plastic bags, so as to prevent the bags from tearing.

The widower is now suing Wal-mart for $650,000 (£418,679) in medical expenses and an unspecified sum relating to Lynette Freis' pain, suffering and burial costs. The papers filed with the court show Freis accusing Walmart of not training employees to fill bags properly and accuse the manufacturer of providing a defective product.

Wal-mart representatives have confirmed an investigation into the matter and have said "customer safety is a top priority". Meanwhile, according to the Lincoln Star, Wal-mart legal representative Heidi Guttau-Fox has approached the US Federal Court over the matter.