Lowe's says it isn't to blame for woman's fall

By Kelly Holleran | Aug 31, 2009

CHARLESTON – A home improvement store denies it is responsible for causing a woman to trip over a low-lying pallet.

Instead, Lowe's contends Beatrice Walker is responsible for causing her own injuries after her fall.

Walker originally filed a suit against Lowe's in Kanawha Circuit Court after she says she slipped and fell over a pallet obstructing the aisle at the Lowe's on 5750 MacCorkle Ave. in Charleston.

The incident occurred while Walker was shopping in the store on April 24, 2007, according to her complaint.

Because of her fall, Walker says she suffered severe and permanent physical and mental injuries, an impairment of her enjoyment of life and great mental anguish. In addition, Walker has incurred significant medical costs, the suit states.

She blames Lowe's for failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition and for failing to provide adequate maintenance.

Lowe's denies Walker's allegations against the store.

"The Defendant asserts the affirmative defense that Plaintiff is solely responsible for her alleged fall and injuries, and that any alleged obstruction was open and obvious," Lowe's answer to Walker's complaint states.

In her two-count suit, Walker is seeking compensatory damages, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Lowe's removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, claiming there is a diversity of residency between Walker -- a West Virginia citizen -– and the store, an out-of-state corporation. It also says the case should be removed because Walker is seeking more than $75,000.

Shannon M. Bland of Bland and Bland in Charleston will be representing Walker.

Andrew B. Cooke of Flaherty, Sensabaugh and Bonasso in Charleston will be representing Lowe's.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:09-CV-721

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