Jury awards $5 million verdict in Food Lion personal injury case

Having a Tennessee Injury Law practice we have seen all types of cases. Of course, the most common injuries involve car accidents but that is not the only type of collision that can occur. According to this case, in August of 2006, Ella Cousins, then sixty-four, was pushing her shopping cart down a main aisle of the Food Lion when her empty car was hit head on by a two hundred pound stocking cart. The collision resulted in Cousins being knocked backwards which caused her to hit her head on the ceramic floor causing a traumatic brain injury as a result. Prior to the personal injury accident, Cousins had normal intelligence and was employed as an attendant for people who couldn’t care for themselves. Now, she is severely mentally impaired and requires around-the-clock care and supervision.

On the day of the accident, female grocery employee, Barbara Hopper, had packed the wheeled stocking cart too high with beauty care items. The totes on the cart were stacked so high that the 5-foot-1 employee couldn’t see over the top of them. Hopper also was pushing the cart rather than pulling it, which was in violation of a store policy to pull the cart to prevent such accidents. Hopper no longer works for Food Lion and stated that she never saw Cousins until she was on the floor.

For approximately seven years, Cousins’ daughter and granddaughter provided her care, which would have cost an estimated $200,000 a year if it was paid for. Also, Cousins’ granddaughter is in her twenties and has put off going to college to care for her grandmother.
The verdict against the grocery store company, reached Thursday following a three-day trial, ties the largest verdict ever recorded in the area. The jury determined that the grocery store company was responsible for the accident.
Food Lion appealed the first verdict and the case was initially tried in January 2010, with an entirely different outcome. According to that trial, Food Lion admitted Hopper was negligent, however the company asserted and the jury agreed that Cousins had “contributory negligence” and should have gotten out of the way of the cart. According to the law in that state, people that contributed to negligence cannot receive damages. This decision was also appealed stating that Food Lion had not properly vouched for the accuracy of a surveillance system that was running the day of the accident.
In January 2012, the state Supreme Court agreed with this statement, reversing the jury’s finding and remanding it for a new trial.

Accidents resulting in serious personal injuries happen every day all across the country and even to the residents of Tennessee. If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured as the result of some type of personal injury accident, then we recommend you contact one of our compassionate and experienced Tennessee personal injury attorneys immediately. We care about our clients and will hear your case and work with you to see to it that you receive the compensation you need.

Contact us online or call us at 800.705.2121 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.

American Association of Justice Badge
Justia Badge for
Million Dollar Advocates Forum Badge
Best of the Bar Badge
AV Preeminent Badge
Contact Information