West Virginia Record

Monday, September 23, 2019

Walmart denies blame for employee's injury

By Kelly Holleran | Apr 26, 2010

CHARLESTON -- Walmart denies it is to blame for an employee's injuries after she slipped on ice outside its Nitro Marketplace store.

Walmart wants the federal court to dismiss Reba Comer's complaint against it, saying Comer herself caused her fall.

According to Comer's complaint filed Feb. 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court, Comer fell on the ice as she stepped on the sidewalk area outside Walmart on Feb. 25, 2008, causing her to sustain injuries to her hip and back area.

After her fall, Comer, a Walmart employee, attempted to file a workers' compensation claim, but her night supervisor would not allow her to, the suit states.

Because of Comer's injury, Walmart terminated her on April 14, 2008, the complaint says.

In her complaint, Comer seeks compensatory damages, plus a reimbursement of her costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Walmart contends Comer should receive no damages and denies her allegations against it.

The store says it took reasonable care to protect Comer from injuries and had no knowledge of any icy conditions on its sidewalks.

"Any ice buildup, if any, was open and apparent to Ms. Comer and Walmart did not prevent her from discovery of the same," the suit states.

In addition, the store says it did not discriminate against Comer when it fired her.

"Ms. Comer was an at-will employee of Walmart and could be discharged for any lawful condition," the complaint says.

Walmart wants the court to dismiss Comer's complaint with prejudice and to grant it other relief the court deems just.

Walmart removed Comer's complaint to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, saying Comer is resident of a different state than the Arkansas-based Walmart and seeks more than $75,000.

Henry E. Wood III of Wood Law Office in Charleston will be representing Comer.

Eric W. Irsa, Ellen J. Vance and Alyesha P. Ashgar of Spilman, Thomas and Battle in Charleston will be representing Walmart.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:10-429

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