Louisiana Record

Friday, December 13, 2019

Walmart seeks to have store greeter removed as defendant in slip and fall lawsuit

By Charmaine Little | Jun 10, 2018


MONROE – Walmart wants one of its employees tossed from a slip and fall lawsuit, arguing an employee cannot be named as a defendant simply for doing his or her job, according to a Notice of Removal it filed June 5 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Monroe Division.

Walmart, Inc. and one of its employees, Elizabeth Parker, filed the notice of removal in response to a lawsuit filed against both by plaintiff Mary Lynn Banks in the Fourth Judicial District Court, Ouachita Parish on May 11. While Walmart Corporation was not served, the Notice of Removal is in response to Parker, the only served defendant. Still, Walmart said it was a part of the case as the slip-and-fall happened in one of its stores, and Parker is an employee of the franchise. To be clear, Walmart Inc. is a defendant, but neither the store at which Parker is employed nor Walmart Louisiana LLC has been served with court documents.

As for its Notice of Removal, Walmart pointed out while Banks claimed Parker was negligent by not maintaining a safe floor, as well as not letting customers know the floor was wet, Louisiana law prohibits an employee from being held responsible outside of the scope of their personal duties toward the plaintiff.

In this case, Parker was working as a greeter during the time of Banks’ incident. Her responsibilities were to “greet customers, check receipts and handle merchandise returns,” not clean up spills or even placing caution signs on the floor, according to the notice.

The notice also stated Parker “has been improperly joined and the court should disregard her citizenship for purposes of determining diversity jurisdiction.”

It also added Banks’ request exceeds the norm when it comes to personal injuries as the plaintiff has listed several injuries she allegedly suffered: past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, past and future lost earning capacity, past and future physical pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of household services, loss of enjoyment of life, as well as injuries to her knees, hip, tendons, lumbar, tibial, and more.

The notice also stated plaintiff’s request for a jury trial makes her award limit $50,000. Plus, her injuries would cost more than the state court’s $75,000 lawsuit limit.

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Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division