Overhead door leads to postal worker's suit against Wal-Mart

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Oct 17, 2007

MARSHALL – Rain, snow and sleet may not stop the postman from his appointed rounds, but an overhead door at Wal-Mart proved to be too much for a mail carrier in Longview.

Sheila Justice claims she was injured because she had to lift an overhead door every day to deliver the mail to the department store.

She filed suit on Oct. 12 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas, alleging she received personal injuries to her right arm and shoulder because of Wal-Mart's negligence.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, Justice claims employees at the Longview Wal-Mart refused to let her enter through the receiving door at the back of the store, which forced her to deliver the mail every day through an adjacent overhead door.

While the Wal-Mart employees at first helped Justice raise the door, over time, the employees "provided less and less assistance to the plaintiff in raising the overhead door," the petition states.

Finally on April 2, 2006, a Wal-Mart employee only slightly opened the overhead door for her. When Justice attempted to push the overhead door up sufficiently, the door jammed and abruptly stopped. She claims her right arm and shoulder jerked violently causing an immediate onset of pain. She states that she was not able to complete her delivery route but sought medical attention.

The lawsuit claims that Wal-Mart was negligent in failing to provide or maintain a safe premise, not establishing safe delivery policies or procedures and failing to instruct employees regarding safer access procedures.

Continuing with the allegations, the plaintiff states that Wal-Mart's "damaged or inadequately maintained" overhead door "posed an unreasonable risk of harm." Specifically, Justice states that her injuries are due to Wal-Mart's negligent activity through failing to provide safe access and requiring her to use the overhead door. In addition, the plaintiff believes Wal-Mart is liable for negligence, premise liability and negligent activity.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement and loss of earning capacity.

Wal-Mart has not yet responded to the allegations.

On behalf of the plaintiff, Tyler attorney John Jack Walker of the law firm, Martin and Walker, is requesting a trial by jury.

Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham has been assigned to the case.

Case No: 2:07cv00453

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