Florida Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Walmart must show video of woman who claimed she fell in Oldsmar store

By Tomas Kassahun | Mar 2, 2018


TAMPA — A Florida court has ordered WalMart Stores Inc. to share video of a woman alleging falling in its Oldsmar store.

The plaintiff, Dondenna Crabtree, said she slipped and fell on a wet substance at the store. 

After Crabtree filed a complaint demanding for WalMart to share the video, the store objected until after the plaintiff was deposed. 

Wal-Mart argued that showing the video before the deposition would allow the plaintiff to alter her testimony. 

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida -- Tampa Division said WalMart didn’t give any specific facts to support its argument that showing the surveillance footage would give an unfair advantage to Crabtree.

“Where the defendant, in opposing production, presents no evidence that the plaintiff will tailor her deposition testimony to the video footage, courts compel production of the videotapes before the plaintiff is deposed,” the court said. "Defendant shall produce the video to plaintiff before her deposition.” 

Crabtree filed the original complaint on June 30 in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida-Pinellas County, saying she was a customer at a WalMart store in Oldsmar when the accident happened.  

Crabtree allegedly suffered injuries, resulting in pain and suffering, disability, loss of earnings, and medical expenses. 

In another Walmart case in November, an Alabama jury ruled that an Army veteran who broke his hip while picking out a watermelon at a WalMart store should receive $7.5 million.

According to court documents obtained by the Washington Post, retired Sgt. Henry Walker was reaching for a watermelon when his foot got stuck in the side of a wooden pallet under the display, causing him to fall and shatter his hip.

Walker sued WalMart for negligence, saying the store was not kept reasonably safe.

AL.com reported that jurors saw security footage of other shoppers from the same store who caught their feet in the pallet.

According to Losspreventionmedia.com, stores "don't have a legal duty to share footage with a customer who demands to see it, for example, to look at the condition of the floor in a slip and fall allegation." 

Florida personal injury law firm Glick & Grife told Losspreventionmedia.com that "only during discovery, stores are obligated to hand over a copy of the video to the individual or their legal representation."

"Where a defendant opposes producing video footage of a slip and fall before the plaintiff’s deposition, appellate courts defer to the trial court’s discretion, reviewing for an abuse of discretion," the court said.

Store footage is considered a non-work product and must be shared with a plaintiff after a proper request during the discovery phase of the court, according to lostpreventionmedia.com. 

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Organizations in this Story

Walmart Stores Inc.Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida