Berkeley woman sues after fall at Wal-Mart

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 9, 2008

MARTINSBURG – A Berkeley County woman has filed suit against Wal-Mart, claiming she was injured after she tripped over an unfilled pallet.

Margaret I. Kohl was walking through the Martinsburg store on Nov. 5, 2005, when she tripped over a flat pallet that was not filled with any product, according to the complaint filed Nov. 5 in Berkeley Circuit Court.

Kohl struck both of her knees on the floor after she fell, the suit states.

Due to her fall, Kohl claims she had to incur divers and medical expenses.

Right after she fell, Kohl claims employees began to stack the pallet she tripped over with soda products to make it noticeable.

"The unfilled and, as a result, unnoticeable pallet, described above, constituted a defect or condition which was in the nature of a hidden danger, trap, snare or pitfall," the suit states.

Wal-Mart was negligent because it failed to remedy the defect, according to Kohl's complaint.

The store, however, claims Kohl fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, according to an answer filed in federal court Sept. 26.

It also claims it did not breach a legal duty and that its actions were not a cause of the accident, injury or damages Kohl received.

Wal-Mart alleges Kohl is claiming unreasonable and unnecessary medical expenses.

It also claims that Kohl was negligent because she failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to observe open and obvious hazards.

Kohl is seeking unspecified compensatory damages, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, costs and any other relief the court deems just.

Wal-Mart is seeking a judgment that would deny the relief Kohl seeks, a dismissal of the complaint with prejudice, an award of costs, attorney's fees and associated expenses and other relief the court deems proper.

The case has been moved to federal court at the request of Wal-Mart.

Kohl is represented by Kenneth J. Ford of Martinsburg.

Wal-Mart is represented by Joseph L. Caltrider of Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff & Love in Martinsburg.

U.S. District Court case number: 3:08-CV-145

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