Wood County jury returns $16.9m verdict against Walmart Tuesday

PARKERSBURG -A Wood County jury returned a verdict of $16,922,000 against Walmart Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

The case centered a charge that Walmart failured to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition when attempting to apprehend a shoplifter in February, 2015, which led to injuries to one of its customers, Diane Ankrom.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching its verdict that included $6.5 million dollars in past and future medical expenses and over $10 million in general damages.

The jury found Walmart to be 30 percent responsible for the incident and the shoplifter to be 70 percent responsible.

The verdict is believed to be one of the largest, if not the largest, verdicts in the history of Wood County on behalf of a single plaintiff.

Jamie Bordas of the Wheeling-based law firm of Bordas & Bordas who served as lead counsel for the plaintiff at trial commented,

“It was truly an honor and a privilege to be able to fight for justice for Diane Ankrom. We are hopeful that this jury’s verdict sends a message to large corporations that they are not supposed to put profits over safety. The shoplifter in this incident had merely stolen gloves and had already given them back before Walmart persisted in attempting to detain him in an inappropriate manner that ultimately led to one of its customers being injured.”

Bordas was assisted at trial by his colleague at his firm, John Artimez, and Wood County attorney Todd Wiseman. Wiseman noted, “Diane Ankrom has suffered so much in the past four years. Although this verdict will not take away her injuries or the suffering, it will provide for her medical needs in the future as well as help to balance some of the harm that Walmart’s conduct caused.”

Philip Sbrolla and Matthew Schrebe of the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Cipriani & Werner defended Walmart. Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane presided over the five-day trial.