Suit filed against Home Depot two years after trip and fall

David Yates Apr. 9, 2008, 8:38am

David Starnes

A trip to Home Depot turned into a trip to the emergency room for Ann Mattingly, who claims a store employee parked a flatbed cart behind her while she was paying for her garden supplies.

Mattingly says she suffered permanent injuries after she fell over the cart and has filed suit against Home Depot. Her husband, Jeff Mattingly, is also a plaintiff in the suit, claiming he "suffered bystander damages and mental anguish" witnessing his wife's fall.

The couple's suit was filed on April 8 in the Jefferson County District Court. The suit also names Anthony Brown as a defendant – the Beaumont Home Depot's manager at the time of the incident.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on April 9, 2006, Ann Mattingly was standing at the checkout counter in the garden section of Home Depot. While paying for her purchases, an employee, under the supervision of Brown, parked a large flatbed cart directly behind her.

"After paying for her purchases, Ann Mattingly fell over the cart, suffering serious bodily injuries," the suit said. "Plaintiff Jeff Mattingly witnessed his wife's fall and has suffered bystander damages and mental anguish as a result of his first-hand observation of the trauma and injuries suffered by his wife."

The suit goes on to list several acts of negligence allegedly committed by Home Depot and Brown:

  • Parking the flatbed cart out of Ann Mattingly's sight but in her path of exit of the premises;
  • Failing to adequately warn Ann Mattingly that the flatbed cart had been parked behind her and would be in directly in her path as she turned to exit the premises;
  • Failing to instruct and/or train their employees on the proper safety procedures to avoid incidents;
  • Allowing and permitting the premises to become and remain in an unreasonably dangerous condition;
  • Failing to inspect the premises to be certain that the premises were in good, safe and proper condition;
  • Failing to safeguard their customers by maintaining equipment in an unsafe location;
  • Failing to implement and enforce store safety policies;
  • Failing to discover unreasonably dangerous conditions upon the premises;
  • And in ignoring this foreseeable and preventable hazard.

    "Defendants were negligent in failing to formulate, implement, and enforce an effective risk management program," the suit said. "Defendants' failure to … enforce an effective risk management program was a proximate cause of Plaintiffs' injuries and damages."

    The plaintiffs are suing for past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment and loss of earning capacity.

    The plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Starnes.

    The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District.

    Case No. A181-564

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