Wal-Mart Settles Trampling Death with $2 Million

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Nassau County, NY—The retail giant Wal-Mart will pay $2 million, and take steps to improve safety protocols at all of its NY locations, as part of a deal reached with prosecutors in the case of a worker’s death.

Jdimytai Damour, a temporary employee who had been with the company for only a week, was killed on “Black Friday,” the traditionally busy shopping day after Thanksgiving, when he was trampled and trapped by a crowd of 2,000 people attempting to enter the Valley Stream store.

Damour, who was 6’5” and weighed 270 lbs., had no training in security or crowd control. He was trapped in a vestibule, where he died of asphyxiation. Eleven others were also injured in the melee.

In order to avoid criminal charges, Wal-Mart has agreed to the settlement. In addition to establishing a $400,000 victims’ compensation fund and awarding charitable grants, the company will implement new safety measures.

These measures include a crowd-management program for post-Thanksgiving sales, which will be reviewed independently and overseen by the prosecutor’s office in order to ensure compliance.

The charities that will receive money from Wal-Mart include Nassau County’s Youth Board, which provides career development and job training through nonprofit agencies, and the United Way of Long Island’s Youth Build program. Additionally, Wal-Mart has been asked to hire 50 high school students annual to work in the five Nassau County stores.

Damour’s family had planned to sue the retailer, as well as other defendants, in the case. Their attorney did not comment on the settlement, but any victim who receives compensation from the Wal-Mart fund thereby waives their right to sue the company thereafter on civil grounds.

The agreement constitutes no admission of guilt on Wal-Mart’s part.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice had considered filing criminal charges against the discount-store chain, after launching an investigation into the November incident. If she had done so, however, the company would have been liable only to pay a $10,000 fine.

“Rather than bringing the world’s largest retailer to court and imposing a small fine against them,” said Rice, “I felt it was important to require significant safety changes that will affect the whole state.”

Wal-Mart has 92 stores in the state of New York. It is the world’s largest private employer, and the largest grocery retailer in the United States.

 

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