Walmart Lawsuit – Dopey Prank or Hate Crime [POLL]
This would actually be funny if it weren’t true.
But truth is stranger than fiction.
According to the New Jersey Law Journal:
Walmart is being sued by a shopper who claims he suffered emotional distress from a rogue public address announcement at its Turnersville store.
You may remember the story.
On March 14, 2010, shoppers heard a male voice calmly announce, "Attention Walmart customers: all black people must leave the store." A few minutes later, a manager went on the loudspeaker to apologize for the remarks.
The store later learned by examining surveillance-camera footage that a 16-year-old had made the announcement. The teenager was prosecuted for harassment and bias intimidation.
(Here we go again, emphasis mine! Bias intimidation…really? A precursor to Dahrun Ravi perhaps?)
Walmart has said that the behavior was "unacceptable" and that it was taking steps to safeguard its public address systems against unauthorized use.
But Donnell Battie, who is black, claims Walmart was negligent and reckless, and showed deliberate indifference, by not safeguarding the P.A. system.
In his suit, filed in Camden County Superior Court on March 14 and removed to U.S. District Court in Camden on May 11, Battie says the announcement was "reasonably likely to harass or intimidate African-American shoppers based on their race, color and/or creed."
He claims the announcement led to depression, anxiety, anger, loss of sleep and appetite, paranoia, anti-social tendencies and loss of enjoyment in activities. He says he has required medical care and will need more.
Battie's attorney, Cherry Hill solo John Klamo, says that when Battie heard the announcement, he complained to the manager, whose response was, "Don't worry about it."
(Right, don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of it…now please continue to shop. I mean, c’mon! – emphasis mine!)
Klamo says Battie found the episode particularly troubling because of prior episodes for which he had been getting professional help.
"Mr. Battie is an individual who has been under care of a doctor for various disabilities dealing with his psychological makeup," Klamo says. He's in Walmart and something of this nature presents its ugly head and it brings up past situations in his life that affected him."
Klamo adds that Walmart's failure to limit access to its P.A. system was irresponsible because if someone used it to yell "fire," patrons hurrying to the exit could be injured.
(But nobody yelled “fire”, and patrons weren’t in any danger!)
Klamo says Walmart's attorney, Karen Green of McDonnell & Associates in King of Prussia, Pa., wrote to him on May 1 to say the company intended to remove the case to federal court on diversity grounds unless Battie agreed to limit damages to $75,000.
On May 9, Klamo replied that Battie was seeking $1 million in damages, plus attorney fees and costs. On May 10, Green removed the case to federal court.
First of all…we use “bias intimidation" all to often to try and allay the wrongs of past injustices….which truly were injustices.
This does not fall in line with those.
If anything, the lawsuit itself is an injustice and an insult to those brave men and women who have fought for equal justice under the law.
This trivializes their sacrifices!