CHARLESTON — A lawsuit against Walmart for an injury allegedly sustained in its Logan store recently was removed to federal court.
Patricia Sidebottom initially filed the lawsuit in August in Logan Circuit Court before it was removed to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston.
Sidebottom was at the Logan Walmart when a woman identified in court documents as "Jane Doe" allegedly backed into her with an electric motorized scooter.
When Jane Doe backed into Sidebottom, it caused Sidebottom to fall onto the floor and break her hip, according to the suit.
Sidebottom claims Walmart was negligent in not making sure that Doe was competent to operate the electric motorized scooter before allowing her to drive it throughout the store.
"Specifically, the only warning on the Defendant Walmart's electric motorized scooter seemingly are directed toward the safety of the operator with no regard for the safety of third persons that the scooter operator may encounter while driving the scooter through the superstore," the complaint states.
Sidebottom claims Walmart was negligent in failing to properly instruct operators of its electric motorized scooters on its operation.
The plaintiff suffered emotional distress, medical and hospitalization expenses, and lifestyle changes, according to the suit.
Sidebottom is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is represented by Robert B. Kuenzel of Kuenzel Law.
In its notice of removal, Walmart argued that the amount in controversy exceeds the state court limit of $75,000, meaning it must be removed to federal court.
"Although Plaintiff did not specifically plead an amount of damages in the Complaint, this case may be removed because Plaintiff's representations clearly indicate that Plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $75,000," the notice of removal states.
Walmart contended that without conceding that the plaintiff is owed any damages, which the company expressly denied, it is "facially apparent" that the amount she is seeking was more than the state court limit.
Walmart is represented by Heather M. Noel and Sara E. Brown of MacCorkle Lavender in Morgantown.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 2:19-cv-00644