Litigation links Wal-Mart to alleged battery leak that caused customer's illnesses

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 10, 2013, 5:59pm

HOUSTON - A trip to the automotive section of a Wal-Mart in northwest Houston last year resulted in a Harris County woman suffering from a pair of respiratory ailments.

Elizabeth Cotrone filed a lawsuit against the discount retailer and the branch in question which went from Harris County District Court to Houston federal court earlier this month.

Cotrone visited the Wal-Mart Cypress Supercenter on March 10, 2012.

She went to check out near the aforementioned automotive section when she noticed that the defendant's employees stacked returned batteries near the register.

The suit says the batteries were stacked "dangerously high and were unstable," and one of which fell onto the floor spilling liquid.

According to the plaintiff, the workers placed a napkin on the puddle, and a few minutes later, fumes caused her eyes and lungs to burn.

"The Wal-Mart employees never evacuated Cotrone," the suit says.

"Instead of fixing the problem and evacuating Cotrone, the Wal-Mart employees instructed Cotrone to finish checking out near the spill."

Cotrone was diagnosed with a chemical bronchitis and pneumonia.

The respondents reportedly have a video of the supposed incident.

Consequently, the complainant seeks no more than $2 million in damages.

Attorney Daniel R. Dutko of Burck, Lapidus, Jackson & Chase P.C. in Houston is representing Cotrone.

Case No. 4:13-CV-1669

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