Elizabeth Swenson was shopping at a Wal-Mart in 1994 when she went to use the handicapped stall. Swenson, who is wheelchair bound, was using the handrail in the bathroom, when it ripped out of the wall, knocking her over in her wheelchair and onto the floor. After the fall, Swenson had to have surgery on her back, which her doctor testified has resulted in additional scarring. Swenson suffers from a medical condition which required her to have a spinal fusion in 1987, according to an Associated Press report of the trial. The woman has had a rod inserted into her back. In 1991, she had the rod removed, but when her back subsequently collapsed, she had to have the rod reinserted. But after the injury in Wal-Mart, Swenson’s doctors remvoed the rod again to relieve some of the pain from her fall. When Swenson first went to court, she was awarded $115,000 in compensation for her injuries. But Wal-Mart did not let the handicapped women end the case there. Wal-Mart appealed the ruling to a state appeals court, which on June 22nd. upheld the lower court’s decision against Wal-Mart. The 4th. District Appeals Court ruled that the award was not excessive, as Wal-Mart argued, and that she should receive damages for her anxiety about future concerns that her spine may collapse again. It has taken Elizabeth Swenson four years of aggravation, on top of her injuries, to get damages from Wal-Mart. But dont’ expect to see the Elizabeth Swenson story on a Wal-Mart TV ad about they help the handicapped.
Now repeat after me, these words from Sam Walton:”Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they will come back over and over again.” Do you suppose Mr.Sam was talking about court appearances?