Family overnights RV in Wal-Mart lot, sues over intruder

by Walter Olson on August 3, 2010

Wal-Mart stores in many parts of the country are famous for letting motor-home travelers park overnight in their lots for free. One wonders whether that policy will last: a Florida couple is now suing the retailer over an incident in the parking lot of its Cedar City, Utah store, in which the family shot and killed a man who intruded in their parked home. They say they have suffered emotional distress and medical problems and that “store officials knew the man was loitering in the lot” but failed to act. [Salt Lake Tribune via Consumerist, where commenters haven't been conspicuously sympathetic to the plaintiffs]

{ 5 comments }

1 Dennis 08.03.10 at 9:17 am

Scum like that are also likely to get firearms banned fro store parking lots. They should pay Wally World’s legal fess.

2 Don 08.03.10 at 9:20 am

Maybe I need to read the story closer, but wasn’t everyone involved loitering? How was the store supposed to identify the intent between the two different groups?

3 Rebecca On Wheels 08.03.10 at 1:11 pm

I travel solo in a small motorhome and worry that those of us who rely on occasional overnight stays at WalMart will lose this valuable privilege because of people who would do something as stupid as open their door to a stranger. The responsibility for prudence and common sense belongs to the RVer. And a shotgun? Equally stupid. I came to check it out on Snopes because it sounded so far-fetched. Guess not.

4 D 08.03.10 at 2:29 pm

I would say that the man who was killed also suffered emotional distress and medical problems. His next of kin should sue Walmart, too.

5 Anonymous Attorney 08.04.10 at 9:33 am

All jokes aside, this is an abominable form of liability. It may only be trailed by liability for injuries caused to criminals in the course of their crimes. It fits nowhere into the long-standing tort scheme of “duty, breach, causation, damages.” The lawyers filing these suits should be ashamed of themselves.

It’s also another “sued if you do, sued if you don’t” scenario: suppose Wal-Mart takes the plaintiff’s lawyer seriously when he intones in closing argument that Wal-Mart should have done something. Such as what? Put up an electrified fence? Lawsuit. Patrol the lot? Heavy cost, and inevitable accusations of racism. Prowler and security guard get into scuffle? Lawsuit. ACLU steps in. Class action.

And on it goes.

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