TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A man was awarded $4.3 million by a jury in a lawsuit against Walmart after he was struck by a car in a 2020 incident.
According to his lawyers, Arkansas native Scott Lacy was working as a subcontractor at a Walmart in Tyler in the lawn and garden center when in July 2020 multiple employees yelled for help in catching a shoplifter.
“The employees and Mr. Lacy chased the shoplifter into the parking lot to retrieve the stolen merchandise, and then one employee instructed Mr. Lacy to release the suspect,” his lawyers said in a release. “Mr. Lacy was walking back toward the Walmart store when the shoplifter struck him with his vehicle and catapulted him into a pole, shattering his ankle, which later required multiple surgeries to repair. Mr. Lacy also suffered a traumatic brain injury.”
Walmart was ordered to pay $4.3 million to Lacy, and the accused shoplifter, identified by Lacy’s attorney’s as Herbert Vanderkinter, 35 of Tyler, was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in addition to outstanding warrants. Vanderkinter pleaded guilty on Jan. 30 and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Lacy’s attorneys said the jury was shown evidence during the trial, which began on July 24, of negligence on Walmart’s part for inadequate training and understanding of the company’s shoplifting policy.
“If the Walmart staff were properly trained, this whole incident would have been preventable,” personal injury attorney Jack Walker said. “We hope this verdict sends a message to major companies that employee and guest safety should be a priority over profit and merchandise.”