Walmart shopper who broke his hip picking out a watermelon awarded $7.5 million

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An Alabama jury has decided that the Army veteran who broke his hip while picking out a watermelon at a Walmart store should receive $7.5 million.

Retired Sgt. Henry Walker was 59 in June 2015 when he went shopping at a Walmart in Phenix City, Alabama, the Ledger-Enquirer reports. As Walker reached for the watermelon, his foot got stuck in the side of a wooden pallet under the display. That led him to fall and shatter his hip, according to court documents described by The Washington Post.

Walker’s attorney, Shaun O’Hara, said the injury permanently changed his client’s life: He used to play basketball three days a week and now must use a walker to get around. Walker sued Walmart for negligence and wantonness, arguing that the store had not kept its premises reasonably safe.

Jurors were shown security footage from the same store that showed several other customers had also caught their feet in the pallet, according to AL.com.

This past Wednesday, the jury awarded Walker $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

Walmart has called those amounts “excessive in light of the facts” and said it plans to appeal the decision.

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