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WalMart Sues Brain-Damaged Woman


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Brain-Damaged Woman at Center

of Wal-Mart Suit

JACKSON, Missouri (CNN) -- Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

Even though the 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral -- she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead -- she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time. Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/walmart.i...iew#cnnSTCVideo

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.

"They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.

Legal or not, CNN asked Wal-Mart why the company pursued the money.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley, who called Debbie Shank's case "unbelievably sad," replied in a statement: "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules. ... We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank's case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan."

Jim Shank said he believes Wal-Mart should make an exception.

"My idea of a win-win is -- you keep the paperwork that says you won and let us keep the money so I can take care of my wife," he said.

The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.

The family's attorney agrees.

"The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering," Graham said.

"She'll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses."

Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust -- far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But just last week, the high court said it would not hear the case.

Graham said the Shanks have exhausted all their resources and there's nothing more they can do but go on with their lives.

Jim Shank said he's disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case -- not for the sake of his family -- but for those who might face similar circumstances.

For now, he said the family will figure out a way to get by and "do the best we can for Debbie."

"Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her

what's going on because it will just upset her."

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Yeah, Walmart's really doing it out of fairness to its other employees. <_< If I were a Walmart employee, now I'd just be more paranoid about having an accident since they've made it obvious that I wouldn't be able to support myself. :sigh: Yet another reason to never shop at Walmart...

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:wtf: What a bunch of bullshit!!! More and more I hear how Walmart is fucking someone over for something, usually their employees. This poor family... What is wrong with our country i.e. the court system. How selfless this man is, saying it's okay to give them 100.000 of the money from their medical care, they don't deserve it, policy or not! Oh God I've started!!!!! I bet since she can no longer work, Walmart isn't letting her use their insurance. Hopefuly our goverment has given her social security, bet they're fighting for that too. eeerrrrr :rant::rant::rant: Edited by jimmy&mekissinginatree
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Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

It strikes me that this situation is down to an error in the original damages case. The Shank's lawyer should have been able to ask for enough money to cover legal fees, Debbie's long-term care and Wal-Mart's expenses. It was the lawyer's oversight that has cause this.

Although Wal-Mart appear to be the baddies here, this is actually a common legal situation. e.g. I was knocked off my bicycle about ten years ago and broke my arm and had to take a few days off sick from work. When the court case against the van driver who knocked me off was finally decided, I was awarded enough to buy a new bike, and to pay back the sick pay I'd been given by my company! OK, so I wasn't in anything like the same situation as Debbie Shank, but the fact remains that lawsuits for damages are supposed to cover all the expenses you have incurred, or may incur in the future. Their lawyer made the mistake in not including the health plan expenses, but Wal-Mart are getting the criticism.

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I never shop at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. I personally prefer to shop at Union Retail stores where I can be assured that I will probably pay twice as much money.

Call me crazy, but I always feel better when I have less money in my pocket.

I shop wherever I please. I do believe it's my money. I have learned how to avoid Wal Mart though at times. Some huge fat cunt about killed me with her shopping cart a few weeks ago and I value my life.

zepbaby

:D:D

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I never shop at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. I personally prefer to shop at Union Retail stores where I can be assured that I will probably pay twice as much money.

Call me crazy, but I always feel better when I have less money in my pocket.

Oh yeah. I pretty much will not shop there any longer. It's just not worth it. I looked at my personal assistant and said "That's enough, I will NOT be back here" "Your a wiser person for it."

They can shove that entire Wal Mart deal right up the owners asses.

zepbaby

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Brain-Damaged Woman at Center

of Wal-Mart Suit

JACKSON, Missouri (CNN) -- Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

Even though the 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral -- she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead -- she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time. Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/walmart.i...iew#cnnSTCVideo

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.

"They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.

Legal or not, CNN asked Wal-Mart why the company pursued the money.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley, who called Debbie Shank's case "unbelievably sad," replied in a statement: "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules. ... We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank's case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan."

Jim Shank said he believes Wal-Mart should make an exception.

"My idea of a win-win is -- you keep the paperwork that says you won and let us keep the money so I can take care of my wife," he said.

The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.

The family's attorney agrees.

"The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering," Graham said.

"She'll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses."

Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust -- far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But just last week, the high court said it would not hear the case.

Graham said the Shanks have exhausted all their resources and there's nothing more they can do but go on with their lives.

Jim Shank said he's disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case -- not for the sake of his family -- but for those who might face similar circumstances.

For now, he said the family will figure out a way to get by and "do the best we can for Debbie."

"Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her

what's going on because it will just upset her."

this is just an all-time low...

Um.......

http://forums.ledzeppelin.com//index.php?s...c=272&st=40

...at least give credit;I mean,I know we're on a Zeppelin board,but shit...... :whistling:

...... :P

:rolleyes:

;)

Edited by 59LesPaul
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Although Wal-Mart appear to be the baddies here, this is actually a common legal situation. e.g. I was knocked off my bicycle about ten years ago and broke my arm and had to take a few days off sick from work. When the court case against the van driver who knocked me off was finally decided, I was awarded enough to buy a new bike, and to pay back the sick pay I'd been given by my company! OK, so I wasn't in anything like the same situation as Debbie Shank, but the fact remains that lawsuits for damages are supposed to cover all the expenses you have incurred, or may incur in the future. Their lawyer made the mistake in not including the health plan expenses, but Wal-Mart are getting the criticism.

The biggest "issue" I have with this story is that Wal-Mart is suing HER for money they paid on damages incurred in a work-related accident!

She didn't get hit by a truck on her day off--she got hit by the truck while she was working for Wal-Mart.

It's completely different from being paid sick pay for an injury that was incurred while you were on your own time.

And '59...this is a different news article on the same person. I didn't steal yours. :P

Actually, I had not clue I'd even read it before. Tells you how little faith I have in Wal-Mart.

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And '59...this is a different news article on the same person. I didn't steal yours. :P

Actually, I had not clue I'd even read it before.Tells you how little faith I have in Wal-Mart.

...or how little you keep up with threads you post in.... :whistling:

B)

Edited by 59LesPaul
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The biggest "issue" I have with this story is that Wal-Mart is suing HER for money they paid on damages incurred in a work-related accident!

She didn't get hit by a truck on her day off--she got hit by the truck while she was working for Wal-Mart.

It's completely different from being paid sick pay for an injury that was incurred while you were on your own time.

And '59...this is a different news article on the same person. I didn't steal yours. :P

Actually, I had not clue I'd even read it before. Tells you how little faith I have in Wal-Mart.

I refuse to shop there any longer :angry: That's greedy and absolutely preposterous.

gilgamesh B)

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I was knocked off my bicycle about ten years ago and broke my arm and had to take a few days off sick from work. When the court case against the van driver who knocked me off was finally decided, I was awarded enough to buy a new bike, and to pay back the sick pay I'd been given by my company!

I don't know the details of your situation and what happened, but you mentioning this just gives me the perfect opportunity to RANT ABOUT BIKE RIDERS!

Before I went to College, I worked briefly as a Bus Driver. And absolutely nothing would annoy you more than people riding bikes because:

a) Buses are generally very wide vehicles and tend to take up the entire width of the lane. Bike riders like riding close to the footpath (or sidewalk for you americans) which of course is the lane the busses have to drive in. So anyway you'd be driving along tryingt o do your job and there would be this bastard on a bike going about 20kms an hour and you can't get past him because: (and this leads me on to point b )

B ) A lot of Bike riders seem to love riding their bikes on very heavy peak-hour traffic roads. We're talking about 3 to 6 lane roads at 5.30pm full of the afternoon rush hour. When everything is chaos. And there's some bastard in the middle of the lane on a pushbike...and if you're in a bus, you can't get round them because you can't get into the other lane of traffic, too many cars. So you have to sit there behind this cyclist, who absolutely doesn't give a shit, doing 20kms an hour.

The other thing I've noticed in my time on the roads is that when cyclists get on the road, all they're concerned about is themselves, and they will ride in the most inconvenient places, but they don't care because they somehow feel protected or sanctioned because they're on a bike. Everybody else on the road has to look out for them or drive around them or take some other evasive action just for them, because they won't do it, they won't stop being an obstacle.

So my message to people, from a former transport worker who used to be on the roads 10 hours a day, is this:

Don't even think about riding a bike or a scooter in busy city traffic areas. It's okay in the suburbs or on your own little bike pathways, but if you do ride a bike or a scooter in busy city traffic, I can tell you that you don't realise how many times you come very close to being killed or seriously injured. On your bike, you're not even aware of it. But as a former Bus Driver I can tell you that I came inches away from killing 3 cyclicsts, I've seen 1 cyclist get killed and another one crippled, I've heard stories from other bus drivers, regularly, about their near misses with cyclists and pedestrians. In fact the injury-rate involving cyclists and busses is so high that cyclists were often commonly referred to by staff and management as "the mobile speed humps". Seriously, that's how dangerous it is.

And I learned by doing that job, that when you're riding a bike you are completely unaware of the number of times that you are in danger, and that's its just absolute madness to get out on your bike in city traffic. Your chances of dying or being injured go up so high that you may as well take your holidays in Baghdad. Seriously.

This has been a Public Service Announcement ;)

Edited by Gainsbarre
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I shop wherever I please. I do believe it's my money. I have learned how to avoid Wal Mart though at times. Some huge fat cunt about killed me with her shopping cart a few weeks ago and I value my life.

Classy.

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ROFL

I feel like I'm playing "your momma" with you.

Will meet you in basement at 4:00a/// I would imagine running home to cram those custard pies in the gob was more important than my toes. She was rude, obnoxious, and had to but her fat arse in front of everyone :D

If I would have been a girl I would have jap slapped her. It wasnt a guy.

It was a cow.

zepbaby

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Will meet you in basement at 4:00a/// I would imagine running home to cram those custard pies in the gob was more important than my toes. She was rude, obnoxious, and had to but her fat arse in front of everyone :D

If I would have been a girl I would have jap slapped her. It wasnt a guy.

It was a cow.

Stay classy, San Diego.

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