FORT LAUDERDALE – Walmart failed in its effort to remove a store manager named as a defendant in a slip and fall lawsuit. The retail giant filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Broward Division.
Plaintiff Robert Wilson sued Walmart Stores East, LP in Fort Lauderdale and named the store manager, "John Doe," as one of the defendants. He claimed Doe was negligent after Wilson slipped and fell on a banana peel in the store.
Walmart in court documents filed May 8 seeks to have the manager removed as a defendant. saying, “the whole purpose of bringing the claim was and is to destroy diversity jurisdiction.” Walmart attorneys also stated the plaintiff said he didn’t see a manager on duty before the slip-and-fall incident. Walmart manager Chily Julien said in a deposition he was the manager on duty and testified he wasn’t aware of a banana peel on the floor. The plaintiff requested for Julien to be added to the case as John Doe.
The court denied the motion to remove Doe from the case.
Walmart insists listing Doe as a defendant is irrelevant to the case and requested to have him removed, as well as have the case removed from the judicial court.
Walmart argued its principal place of business is in Arkansas, not Florida. While Julien is a Florida resident, Walmart requested the court discount his citizenship as state law has determined an employee, such as a store manager, is not responsible for “for the corporate tort.”
The defendant added the amount in question is more than the jurisdictional minimum of $75,000. While the amount is specified, the plaintiff stated in his letter that he already accumulated nearly $67,000 in medical bills and expected to accrue more.