A man in Alabama has been awarded a $7.5m payout after tripping and breaking his foot and hip while buying a watermelon at Walmart. The supermarket giant has said it plans to appeal the ruling.
"We are disappointed in the verdict," Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told the Associated Press on Thursday (11 November). "We appreciate the jury's service, however we believe that the damages awarded were excessive in light of the facts in this case. We plan to appeal."
Henry Walker sued the corporation after he says his foot became stuck on a pallet underneath the watermelons that he was reaching for. The incident was said to have taken place on 25 June, 2015 at the Phoenix City store.
Walmart said in court filings that the watermelon display was not dangerous, and any negligence was on Walker's part.
"Walmart continues to display watermelons in the same manner as it did on June 25, 2015," read one court filing. "These displays come to the store from the producer already packaged and ready to be dropped off and displayed."
Walker's attorney told the local Ledger-Enquirer that the verdict was fair because "Walmart just didn't care", adding: "They should have had something to cover up that pallet so someone's foot couldn't get caught in it, and they didn't."
Another attorney for Walker, David Rayfield, told the paper that he had been compensated "accordingly". $2.5m of the payout is supposed to be compensation from the incident, while the other $5m is punitive damages.
According to al.com, Walker's attorney said that jurors reviewed surveillance footage showing that several other people had similarly got their feet stuck in the pallet, in the same way that Walker did when he fell and sustained the injuries.