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$1,007,000 verdict – woman injured while shopping in Costco from falling merchandise – toilet paper (Miami)

We are all familiar with the allure of the “big box” stores – lower process, huge selection, and a “treasure hunt” excitement of not knowing what is new around the next aisle.  But what happens when the treasure hunt results in serious injury instead of a shopping excursion?

John Elliott Leighton was retained to represent a woman who was shopping at a big box (Costco) store.  When she attempted to move a package of toilet paper from the store’s shelf, the entire carton fell on her, knocking her down.  She suffered a severe leg fracture of her leg, requiring surgery and an external fixator for several months. A business owner, her injuries interfered in her work and lifestyle.  Costco denied responsibility and the case went to trial. Mr. Leighton tried the case in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court and obtained a verdict of $1,007,000Godur v. Costco, Case No. 00-33482 CA 02, 2001 WL 1783031.

While we have been told how soft and comfortable Charmin toilet paper is, nobody ever said that a carton of this paper would result in a massive fracture resulting in an external fixator for months on end.  Our client suffered tremendously, having metal pins piercing her leg holding the halo fixator for many months.  Her initial fracture would not heal, so additional surgical repairs were required by her orthopedic surgeon.

At trial Mr. Leighton demonstrated that the merchandising by Costco caused this carton to fall over when the client went to take it.  There were no signs warning of this, nor was there a display at floor level.  Since Costco has decided to male their stores “warehouse stores”, they have to expect customers to take products off all the visible shelves.  In so doing, our client had no idea that the entire carton would come tumbling down on top of her.

Stores have a responsibility to shoppers to design their displays in a way that will not caused harm or injury. If there is a danger, they are required to warn of it in an appropriate manner so people are not injured.

Godur verdict report

 

Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.

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