WHEELING – Just before a trial could start, a Pennsylvania couple have settled their lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores.

Paul and Terri Ware claimed Paul violently struck his head on a roll-down door at the Walmart in Triadelphia in 2011. The docket shows the two sides were preparing for trial when a settlement was announced after an April 10 settlement conference.

Paul Ware was retrieving a shopping cart when he hit his head on metal spikes that protruded from the bottom of a roll-down door that was not “plainly seen,” the complaint says.

It adds that the force of the collision split his head open and knocked him unconscious. He says he suffered injuries to his head, neck, shoulders, back, psyche and mind.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The Wares’ complaint, which was originally filed in Ohio County Circuit Court but later removed to Wheeling federal court, says he incurred medical bills of more than $30,000.

The Wares were represented by Robert P. Fitzsimmons of Wheeling and McDermott & Bonenberger of Wheeling.

Three weeks before the settlement, U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey refused Wal-Mart Stores’ argument for summary judgment.

The ruling says Paul Ware was forced to retrieve a cart from beyond a garage door at the end of the empty cart area because a greeter offered no help. When his wife told the greeter that Paul was planning to retrieve one of the carts, the greeter directed them to proceed.

The Walmart manager on duty admitted that a customer should never have been directed to walk through the five-foot-high door.

Narrow ends of metal parts were exposed at the bottom of the door and struck Paul Ware.

“In this case, this Court believes that sufficient evidence exists viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs from which a reasonable juror could find that the defendant knew or should have known of the risk of harm the half doorway presented and that it was negligent for the ‘greeter’ to permit Mr. Ware to attempt to utilize the garage type door,” Bailey wrote.

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