MORGANTOWN -- A Monongalia County woman claims she was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a department store.

On Feb. 15, 2004, Shirley Callis of Morgantown was standing in the parking lot of the Westover Kmart near the Morgantown Mall when she was approached by a man who forced her to the ground and put a gun to the back of her head. He then robbed her of her money and valuables and ran away. An employee of Kmart passed them, but did not offer any assistance.

In the suit filed on Feb. 15, Callis claims there had been a string of robberies in the area at department stores with poor lighting. She believes that Kmart knew this and ignored their obligation to keep their shoppers safe.

She states that at 7:10 p.m. the parking lot was unreasonably dark. The parking lot had several overhead lights out, including the one near Callis' car. She believes they were wantonly negligent in their duty to provide safe parking.

Callis also claims there were witnesses to the event, Kmart employees, who did not call the police. She had to go back into the store to ask someone to call 911.

Filed by attorney Thorn H. Thorn, the suit states that Kmart is responsible for their customers' safety, and that their failure
to do so constitutes a breach of their standard of care.

Callis is seeking $250,000 in punitive damages for her emotional distress, pain, suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life, and mental anguish. She hopes this will deter and punish Kmart for their negligence. She is also seeking compensatory daamages for her lost money and valuables, including the purchases she had just made inside of Kmart. She is hoping for a trial by jury.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 06-C-103

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