Parties quarrel over investigator's findings in Family Dollar case

David Yates Jun. 20, 2012, 8:43am

No ruling was issued Monday in a hearing over a plaintiff's motion to compel Family Dollar Stores of Texas to hand over all the findings and dealings of an investigator the company hired.

As previously reported, Mary Jane Walters filed suit against Family Dollar on Jan. 12, 2011, in Jefferson County District Court, claiming falling merchandise forced her to take evasive action and twist her ankle.

Court records show that on June 13 Walters filed a motion to compel and motion for sanctions, requesting that the court force Family Dollar to produce all information related to the hiring, findings and dealings of Kevin Hamill, an investigator who took video surveillance footage of the plaintiff.

Family Dollar responded on June 15, asserting it has already handed over a DVD of Hamill's footage and that the motion is groundless.

Hearing on the matter was held June 18. A court official told the Southeast Texas Record that Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, did not issue a ruling.

Case Background

The lawsuit alleges that on Sept. 11, 2009, Walters was shopping at the Family Dollar on 11th Street in Beaumont when a box of merchandise tumbled from a shelf and fell on her.

In the midst of trying to dodge "picture frames and other items," Walters twisted her knees and right ankle, the suit states.

Instead of offering her assistance, Walters alleges a store employee told her she "was lucky that she didn't get hit by the big mirror back there" and that "merchandise was always falling from that area of the store," the suit states.

Walters was already recovering from ankle surgery at the time of the incident.

She alleges Family Dollar negligently failed to inspect and maintain its premises and warn shoppers of the dangerous condition.

Walters is suing the company for her alleged past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, disfigurement and lost wages.

The Law Offices of Gilbert T. Adams in Beaumont represents her.

Attorneys Zach Mayer, Robin R. Gant and Joshua M. Sandler of the Dallas law firm Kane Russell Coleman & Logan represent Family Dollar.

Case No. E189-146

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