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Wal-Mart gives the Shanks the shaft

March 30, 2008 Local Business 43 Comments

You’ve probably heard the story — Wal-Mart is suing a former employee that is brain damaged and living in a nursing home. Wal-Mart has won their case on a couple of levels — the health plan that paid nearly a half million dollars of her medical expenses had a clause which allowed the company to recoup expenses if the employee gets a settlement.

Debbie Shank received a million dollars from the trucking company that caused the accident that left her incapacitated — about $477K after legal expenses. The intent of the settlement was to pay for her on-going care. Wal-Mart is limited to only the amount that remains in the trust — just under $300K. The Shank family wonders why Wal-Mart can’t just let it go — who needs the money more? CNN has the full story.

This is a good example of the big corporate chain vs. the local retailer  the local merchant that is part of the same community would not take such a step.

Wal-Mart could take this amount of money from their foundation to recoup the health plan. The Walton family could dig through their sofas for this much. But the world’s biggest retailer is hiding behind corporate policy. So besides driving manufacturers to send jobs overseas and a long list of other strong-arm tactics, this is yet another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart & Sam’s.

For more on this story, links to help contribute to her care and a petition you can sign visit walmartwatch.com Please think about the costs to society for that “low price.”  It just is not worth it.


Currently there are "43 comments" on this Article:

  1. john w. says:

    Wal-Mart blows.

  2. Margie says:

    Keith Olbermann on this story:


  3. john w. says:

    I really like Keith Olberman. I really dislike Bill O’Reilly. Bill O’Reilly would’ve taken the side of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart blows.

  4. john says:

    Many corporate health care plans have similar legal interests in these type of lawsuits. Some of your best points about WalMart were written years ago:
    2004: “They see a world of continued sprawl that puts work, home, school and leisure in an auto-centric world that is the economic engine of the community. And when the fuel prices skyrocket these communities will come crashing down first.”
    2005: “While we are working to make the built environment more connected and friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists they are profiting while creating anti-bike and anti-pedestrian sprawl.”
    – –
    Exactly. Picking on one person doesn’t make good PR. But in a highly fragmented region, communities are desperate for revenues and the quality of life for a much greater number can be easily sacrificed, that’s the real tragedy.

  5. Nick Kasoff says:

    So you get in an accident. Your employee health plan pays for your medical care. You sue the person who caused the accident, and get reimbursed for the medical care that you didn’t pay for in the first place. So the health plan demands their money back. Sounds fair to me.
    She should have gotten an award for pain and suffering, lost wages, and such – that money would have been hers to keep. Reimbursement for medical expenses rightly goes to whomever paid for the expenses. This is no less true if it happens to a Walmart employee than it would be if it was a waitress at Hodak’s.

    [slp — the Shanks didn’t collect for medical expenses as those were already paid — they collected for long-term care which is now in jeopardy.]

  6. Nick Kasoff says:

    PS – Why are you upset with Walmart for recouping their medical expenses, but you don’t say a word about the plaintiff’s attorney walking with more than half of the settlement? I wonder how many thousand dollars an hour that guy made.

  7. Jim Zavist says:

    This is just another example of the fundamental challenge facing america’s health care system. We all want the best care possible for the least out-of-pocket expense out of our paychecks. A lot of people are uninsured because they can’t or won’t pay the available premiums. Health care plans are also contracts that explicitly state what is covered and what is not, and in this case, what happens if/when subrogation occurs. On the macro level, it’s easy to be analytical and to define benefits received for premiums paid (and to deny benefits that are expicitly not covered). On the micro level, as in this case, at the personal level, the rules seem extremely unfair. Wal·Mart is in a no-win situation on this one. If they follow the rules, they’re heartless ogres. If they make an exception/don’t pursue restitution, they set a precedent that could easily increase the premiums that all the rest of their employees pay.
    “Socialized medicine” has gained a negative connotation, but it likely is the only and best answer to providing the best care to everyone, instead of our current system of two-thirds of us paying ever-increasing premiums for treatment that may or may not be covered and one third of us being uninsured, undertreated and relying on “charity” (actually higher premiums for those of us who do pay) and emergency rooms. I used and liked a lot a form of socialized medicine in Colorado, Kaiser Permanente (https://www.kaiserpermanente.org/), an HMO that was vertically integrated. They own their own clinics and hospitals, employ their own doctors and technical staff, and have a straight-forward fee structure – you pay a monthly fee that’s competetive to traditional health insurance and you pay your co-pay when you walked in the door, but once you do that, you’re done – no 80/20 deductibles, no annual thresholds, no running around town to various independent specialists. I have serious doubts that the federal or state governments could do the same thing as well (see the VA and Medicare as two examples), but what are the other options? The current system keeps the paper pushers and the lawyers busy, but does it deliver effective results?

  8. Nick Kasoff says:

    Jim – Kaiser, like any other health insurance options, has its good points and its bad. What people most often object to is that in an HMO, you are limited to in-network providers, and your coverage can be restricted by administrative decisions which may be in the interest of the HMO rather than the patient. I’m not endorsing this website, because I haven’t read much of it or verified the veracity of the stories, but check out http://horror.kaiserpapers.info/ to see somebody who isn’t as excited about Kaiser as you were.
    You are correct that the current system keeps the paper pushers and lawyers busy. A government system would continue to keep paper pushers busy, but they’d be federal employees, so they would be more expensive paper pushers. And unless a government system prohibited malpractice suits, the lawyers would continue to be busy too. And as much as I despise the current state of civil litigation, I’d hate to have my healthcare delivered by an organization which had sovereign immunity.
    Finally, I disagree with you that “on the micro level, the rules seem extremely unfair.” If we had a government health insurance system, you wouldn’t be able to sue for medical expenses in the first place. At the core, the problem here wasn’t an insurance problem, it was a court problem: Debbie Shank received an award compensating her for damages which somebody else suffered. An award for pain and suffering, and for lost wages, would be rightfully hers. An award for medical expenses should have been made to whomever paid them. Insurance providers have these rules because courts do this sort of thing all the time. The courts know better, but evidently they’d rather shift to the insurer the burden of looking like the bad guy.

  9. william kruse says:

    I know this view won’t seem very popular, but insurance itself is a lot of the problem. It isn’t that different from car or home insurance. When few people carried it, most bills could be paid from savings or cash on hand in the event of an accident. As more people became insured, or were forced to buy insurance through gov’t regulation, the costs of repairs have skyrocketed.
    One of the reasons that hurricanes set new damage records so often is the proliferation of people living in disaster prone areas that never would have contemplated it prior to homeowner’s insurance. Now, record numbers of people make poor decisions in where to live based on the fact that insurance will cover it in the event of a loss. What a losing scenario. Now, insurance costs are skyrocketing with no end in sight.
    I don’t mean to entirelty equate vet medicine to human medicine, but has anyone else noticed that their dog can get a surgery for under $3000 that would cost a human enough to bankrupt them? We had to take my best friends Bull-dog in for an emergency surgery which was diagnosed, operated and medicated at a cost of only $2900. This included opening up the dog, surgicaly opening up the intestines, removing foreign objects and reconecting the intestinal tract.
    I know that this is just one anecdotal story, but the use/abuse of hospital services and imaging/MRI’s/Medication in this country is out of control. When someone else is paying the bill (insurers), it is easy to forget just how simple medicine used to be.
    Our life expectancy has risen drastically in the last 100 years, but how much of that is medical advancement vs. a less life threatening environment. Our desk jobs are less likely to kill us, and more service members died in a days battle in WWI and WWII than have perished in all of Iraq II. Just a thought.

  10. mike s says:

    I hate Wal-Mart and refuse to shop there, but I believe the person(s) who gave the shanks the shaft is their attorney, and perhaps the judge or jury. This type of provision is standard in all insurance. Their attorney should have known that and made it clear that the first $470,000 was going to have to be returned to Wal-Mart’s health plan and the settlement should have reflected that. Not to mention, legal fees were 58% of the settlement? It sounds to me like they had a lawyer who was all too happy to make a quick buck.

    As fiduciaries, the trustees or administrators of the health plan most likely had an obligation to go after the money – I’d like to see someone in the media do a real analysis of the case. Certainly, Wal-Mart corporate could have decided to reimburse the money to the health plan, but how many companies ever do something like that?

  11. scott o says:

    Well, Walmart sure could have simply chosen not to sue her and collect this money. They had a choice, and they chose to further victimize a person / family that had already suffered a trajedy. Tell me why Walmart needs this money after at least 11 billion in profits in one year. At some point in the chain, someone in the corporate office could have said – “Let’s not sue this brain damaged woman” but no one said that.
    I’ve never, and won’t ever, shop at Walmart, but I sure wish there was something else I could do to express my disgust with this company.
    Remember those commercials Walmart was running a few years back touting their insurance benefits….

  12. mike s says:

    scott o

    Fiduciaries of health and retirement plans regulated under ERISA are obligated to operate those plans in accordance with the rules of the plan. I found one article in the WSJ which properly explains that the Health Plan sued the Shanks, not Wal-Mart itself. Wal-Mart and their health plan are not exactly one in the same entity.

    The attorney is clearly the one who dropped the ball, in my opinion. It seems obvious he was unaware of the issue which means he failed to explain in court that the settlement needed to include both the amount that would have to be returned to Wal-Mart and the amount needed for her future care and lost wages. Or he did make the case (which seems unlikely since he acts as though he was blindsided by it all) and the judge/jury refused to listen.


  13. Carondelet Ninja says:

    According to popular logic in this case, Wal Mart should just pay out of pocket any healthcare costs associated with anyone that has a long term disability as a result of an accident while employed with them? Poppycock! Wal Mart is a business, and as such has a responsibility to the shareholders and other employees to run a profitable business. Why on earth would they be expected to subsidize this woman’s long term care? Her legal counsel should have taken into account her repayment and lobbied for extra monies for long term care in addition to repayment of her contractual obligation. I carry extra long term disability and dismemberment insurance, in addition to my normal healthcare insurance, for just such an event. Does the situation suck? Absolutely. And maybe there is a way that whatever store she worked at can assist (fund raising, one time donation, etc.) in a charitable fashion, but in no way should her culpability to repay her insured claims be absolved. Contrary to popular belief, that money doesn’t just “disappear” into the books. It winds up on a pie chart on some bean counter’s desk, and, eventually, the extra costs would be tacked on to the amount other employee’s have to pay for their benefits, or reflected in the price of the Oreo cookies that I buy, reduced staffing, etc. If she hadn’t had insurance, and had gotten a loan from a bank or credit card to pay for medical expenses, I daresay no one would expect the financing firm to wash away the obligation. Instead, I think people are so eager to find another reason to hate Wal Mart that they will jump on any bandwagon heading that way.

  14. john w. says:

    …and that’s A-OK with me Ninja. Wal-Mart blows.

  15. Craig says:

    Carondelet ninja and Mike S.,

    An attorney is typically not allowed to mention insurance during trial so it’s wrong to fault the attorney for not asking the jury for money to compensate Shank for what the health care plan would later try to recover.

    The attorney’s fees and costs might sound steep, but, again, it’s the reality of the system and not at all unusual. Lawyers usually take one third of the plaintiff’s recovery PLUS the lawyers’ costs. In a big case, the costs can mount rapidly.

    If the lawyer failed to advise the family that the health care plan would try to recoup its expenses, then he screwed up. But it’s more likely that he advised them of this possibility and they went forward with the lawsuit anyway.

  16. Jimmy says:

    The earlier refernced Wall Street Journal article is a must read. It includes some key facts that were left out of the CNN article. One stands out, that Wal-Mart “sent Mr. Shank several notices that he was to inform Wal-Mart’s health plan before he settled any suit.” Either Mr. Shank’s did not forward these to his lawyer or his lawyer took no action on them. The way I see it is the Shank’s lawyer rushed the Shanks to a quick low-balled settlement, took his half+, and ran knowing full well that Wal-Mart was coming after the other half. Why in all of these stories don’t we see the attorney offering to cover part of the shortage out of his own fees, which were more than the Shanks took home.

  17. Craig says:


    Hard to see how the Shanks accepted a “low ball” offer. The insurance policy limit was $1 million. The Shanks settled for $900,000+ according to the WSJ article.

  18. newsteve says:

    Tragic story indeed – but the real question is can Wal-Mart (good or bad PR aside) make an exception here and if it does, what are the consequences of that action. Health Insurance Plans these days are very compliated. Employers struggle to provide their employees with decent plans at affordable prices. Unfortunately, most end up with not so decent plans and less than affordable payments. As part of being able to provide insurance at lower cost to its employees, companies try to save money, and one way to do that is to have these types of subrogation provisions. Debbie Shanks’ story is quite sad, but there are probably other tragic stories that we don’t know about. If Wal Mart were to make an exception in her case – what happens in all the other less tragic cases where Wal Mart attempts to or has recouped medical payments pursuant to their plan. Is it fair to the others whose stories are less tragic. IF the provision in the plan that allows them to do this is mandatory, in fairness to all of their other employees, dont they have to seek reimbursement. It seems to me, their only choice would be to either seek reimbursement from each and every employee who receives damges from the at fault party, or suspend that provision of their plan wholesale.

    [slp — Their profits are measured in billions — with a B.  They want to take away the money this woman needs for daily care.  I think they could manage the health plan without this money.]

  19. scott o says:

    more expensive oreo cookies? Thats what we want to put ahead of a brain damaged woman’s well-being?
    Look – the woman in question traded her labor for health insurance – the health insurance covered injuries up to a certain point – the injuries sustained create a lifetime of expenses – and the family sues the company that caused the injuries. What is Walmart / Health Insurer entitled to any of this money? Because of a clause in a contract? Could this woman have altered the contract – OF COURSE NOT! Give me a break. Yes, companies are in business to make money – THEN GO MAKE some money – don’t STEAL it from a brain damaged woman. If Walmart wanted the money – then they should sue the Trucking Company.
    How about the fact that her husband is working two jobs to pay for her care? That he had to divorce her so she would qualify for more government benefits…
    Walmart made 11 BILLION dollars last year IN PROFIT – or 1.25 million dollars every single hour… yet this woman didn’t have long term disabilty insurance. Anyone who thinks Walmart has a leg to stand on here needs to revisit what their own morals are.

  20. mike s says:

    Scott O,

    I already refuse to give them my money and tell others to also. In fairness, I think this issue is more complex than all the blogs etc make it out to be. But, in the end, if it is bad PR for Walmart and more people stay away, that is a good thing IMO. However, they won’t. pretty much everyone who goes to wal-mart either knows their evil and doesn’t care (low prices) or doesn’t have enough money to afford the morals that allow them to be so picky on where they shop.

  21. john w. says:

    Wal-Mart blows. Stop shopping there.

  22. southsider says:

    “……..doesn’t have enough money to afford the morals that allow them to be so picky on where they shop……”

    So morals are for sale?

  23. alfie says:

    As the legal beagles have pointed out, Wal-Mart may not have had a choice in this matter. But that fact just points to the inherent injustice and immorality of our system. A more pragmatic arrangement is to let all of us share the cost of caring for all of us. After 20 years of working in the healthcare field, I’m convinced that socialized medicine, including single-payor acute, chronic and long-term care, is the answer. Profit and shareholder interests should play no role in this context.

  24. Scott O. says:

    if you look at my tax returns the last few years, I’m definately in the can’t afford morals income bracket…
    Anyway, I think the point, beyond this particularly disgusting injustice, is how we treat corporations, what we ask of them, and what they give us in return. Sure ‘the point of corporations is profit’ in the simplist terms… but corporations these days, and at some other points in history, are as powerful, more powerful, or sometimes one and the same as our governments. Governments can change- elections – checks and balances – different levels – etc. They are hopefully subject to popular will, and ‘serve the people’. Corporations only exist to serve themselves. They have far greater rights and power, and far less accountability, than actual people, although they are subject to many of the same laws, and even given the same rights, as individual people. People don’t exist for any particular purpose, unlike corporations, who exist for profit.
    So we have people who can say that while unfortunate – In this case Walmart is just fulfilling its purpose – living out its destiny as a corporation, and is therefore justified in stealing money from a woman with brain damage. In fact, some people will argue that their is no higher purpose than profit, and in cases like these, if a brain damaged woman stands in the way of $272,000, then thats not our problem. We shouldn’t have to suffer, and besides, it was right here in this contract, we have shareholders to think of, the rights of the millions of shareholders, and our duty to increase profits. Not a duty to humanity, or justice, or decency, or a sliver of compassion, just a duty to a line in a contract that a woman had never read, and profits.

  25. Maurice says:

    Wow, so many good postings. Thank you Steve for a popping article. A few years ago I had the unforunate experience of coming close to reaching that $1 million limit many people have on their policies and if not for a buyout, I would have crossed over by some grossly obsene amount, but what do you do when you are fighting for your life?

    But a couple of questions and comments:

    I hate Walmart, always have, always will.

    Why did the Shanks settle so low?

    Where is the lawyer’s responsiblity for not going above and beyond?

    Reimbursement goes to the one that paid the bills.

    Should Walmart not go after the money, where is the line draw? What about everyone with a $1,000 claim …where does the charity stop?

    What about the stockholders of Walmart? I bet most of the readers through some retirement plan or mutual fund have a share or two of Walmart.

    Isn’t it the obligation of each of us to read our insurance contracts? Isn’t that a big problem with the mortgage meltdown….where is personal responsibilty to read contracts and if too difficult to understand, ask for help from family, friends, legal clinics, anyone??

    Where did the other 200$ go to? Appeals? where is the realization that more appeals equals more costs equals less savings. Where is the personal responsibility to draw the line, even if one is losing?

    Prostate cancer, child killed, personal tragedies, etc. Don’t we all experience disasters of one type or another? Even though I’m going to come off as uncaring and unfeeling, what do these have to do with the case except cited to induce feelings of pity?

    Definetly a streak of bad luck, and the are probably asking why us God. But bad luck happens to all of us at one time or another.

    Couldn’t the local store do a fund raiser (or 3 or 4)?

    Couldn’t the Corporation charity write it off?

    There is no right or wrong I’m afraid. No perfect solution that will get her quality care for the rest of her life rather than the state-set minimum level of care.

    It is just a sad reflection of the current state of judicial affairs. Cut and dry? Yes. Unfeeling? Yes. Sad? Yes.

    All we can do is pray that she has a good quality of life and read our own contracts and know limits/liabilities, etc. and plan accordingly.

  26. Craig says:

    Maurice, as I pointed out above, it does not appear that the Shanks settled for a particularly low amount. I forgive you if you could not read all of the lengthy comments. The fact is that the insurer of the truck that hit the woman was only obligated to pay up to $1 million. The Shanks settled for $900,000. I have no idea about the financial health of the trucking company whose driver hit this woman. It is quite possible that the trucking company had little money to satisfy a judgment in excess of $1 million (if the Shanks could have gotten such a judgment — and that’s a big question. We don’t know if Mrs. Shank could potentially have been found to be partially at fault for the crash.).

  27. Frank says:

    Does anyone really think that a single Wal-Mart employee can negotiate the terms of their coverage contract? Hell, can any municipal employee or unionized worker? It’s probably like every single other employee based health insurance, you’ve got like three choices, the expensive one, the middle expensive one and the cheapo one, all from whatever company gave it to the company cheapest. The choice you have is whether or not you can afford not to have the really expensive one or not.

    It’s not as if the invisibl hand of the market is on your side when you buy it out of pocket. When purchasing insurance with my wife out of pocket, we were looking for a policy that had maternity coverage. Not because my wife and I were trying, but because if we did get pregnant, we would have the child and didn’t want to pay out of pocket for everything. We came within a milimeter of going with this one plan before realizing that the maternity coverage didn’t kick in for an entire year. It seemed perverse to me that a health insurance company would dictate my reproductive choices. The woman on the phone was completely misleading, and I had to call back and specifically ask point by point what was covered and what wasn’t.

    I used to date a girl who was a below-knee amputee who told me that most insurance policies only covered two prostetisis in a lifetime. You generally need two prothetics anyway, and if you’re 25 when you lose a limb, you’ll need many more, each of which starts at about four grand a pop. If you’re not operating heavy farm machinery as a profession, you’re not going to nit pick your coverage and pick the one that has the best amputation coverage.

  28. Craig says:


    You seem to believe that by virtue of being a human being you are entitled to almost any type of healthcare you want — on your terms. Is it economically feasible for a society to provide low-cost health care on demand?

  29. Frank says:

    Hey Craig,
    You’re talking about the economic feasability of two different things, health care and health insurance. Is it possible for a society to provide low-cost health care on-demand? Well…yeah. There are plenty of other first world contries that do, with mixed results of course, but yes, the do it. As for health insurance, well, in America it’s a consumer good like anything else. While I trend towards single payer of some sort or another, the current reality is that health care is a consumer good you buy from insurance companies. My criticism was that as a consumer good or service, it’s not very good. There are a derth of choices and with all of the administration costs it’s not streamlined in the least. Health insurance is essentially gambling, and the house always wins.

    Besides, the cost of it just keeps on rising at a rate several times inflation. It’s unsustainable no matter what your vues on it are.

  30. scott o says:

    I don’t think this is about any health care you want on demand – its about being compensated for a lifetime of suffering by a trucking company – and its insurer – who were found liable in court.

  31. southsider says:

    frank most dental care operates the same way. coverage is limited in the initial term of the contract. look at it this way. i sign up for maternity or dental. get pregnant or have a look of deferred dental done, then drop the policy……………….no insurer would sign so one sided a deal.

    all of this points me to the benefits of each individual getting a personal policy not tied to employment, in which case you can pick and choose your options. i don’t get my house insured through work, why should my health be?

  32. Jim Zavist says:

    It sounds like we’re arguing about how the $900,000 should be split up. In reality, it’s inadequate to fund lifetime care for this woman or to adequately compensate her family for their loss. If everything was truly fair, the trucking company and their driver would have total, shared responsibility, up to and including bankruptcy (if THEIR insurance is inadequate). Should the lawyer have settled for $900,000? Knowing the lifetime expenses will be multiples of that amount? Knowing that Wal·Mart would invoke subrogation? Should he still be taking “his” half, for fees and expenses? Is Wal·Mart entitled to recover the funds they advanced in good faith and under the terms of the coverage they provided? The reality is that when the money’s gone, we, the taxpayers will be paying the rest of the expenses, through Medicare and Medicaid. Bottom line, we (allegedly) have the choice to pick the doctor we see, but at great and ever-increasing personal cost, and with a third of our population relegated to the uncertainty of being “uninsured”, the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in our country! Rightfully and hopefully, this will be THE issue in this year’s elections . . .

  33. Craig says:

    scott o:

    Frank brought up some points about his belief that his spouse is entitled to insurance that will cover a pregnancy from day one of coverage and that his ex girlfriend was entitled to insurance that gives her cheap proesthetics for the rest of her life. I’m not talking about the Shanks anymore. I just want to know what Frank thinks. Now I know.

  34. Nick Kasoff says:

    You people who can find nothing more intelligent to say than “WalMart blows” need to grow up. The vast majority of WalMart stores I’ve visited (sadly, my Ferguson WalMart is an exception) are nice, clean, well organized stores staffed by courteous, helpful staff and providing nearly everything I want at prices significantly below their competitors. By doing this, WalMart has become the largest retailer in the world, and the largest private sector employer in the United States. If this is blowing, blow me away.
    Regarding the case cited here, I’m sure Ms. Shanks is disappointed that after her health plan was reimbursed using the medical costs provision of her settlement, and her attorney took more than half, she was left with nothing but a damaged body and some bad memories. But the bad guy here isn’t WalMart, the bad guy is the trial lawyer who is getting a huge paycheck for doing a mediocre job.
    Regarding health insurance costs … they continue to increase because medical expenses continue to increase. Slashing administrative expenses may pause the increase for a year, but next year, we’ll be right back where we are today, looking at double-digit increases in costs. The only way to permanently reduce costs is to either cut services, or cut payments to providers. Insurance companies have already done an aggressive job of cutting reimbursement rates, so in reality, we’re talking about reducing services. Ultimately, that probably means letting very sick people die, and especially old people who are very sick. It also means reducing the very expensive diagnostic work which doctors do, in great measure, to protect themselves from being sued. But the same people who say that WalMart blows are also strongly opposed to liability limits for medical providers. So where exactly is the savings going to come from?

  35. john w. says:

    I just grew up, and I’ve discovered that Wal-Mart still blows. I’ve also discovered that I will not likely ever agree with much of what Nick has to offer, so I’ll just restate my declaration that Wal-Mart blows and you’ll just have to deal with it.

  36. Craig says:

    The real bad guys are the trucking company and the regulators of the trucking industry. The company was not carrying enough insurance. Again, I don’t see how the lawyer did a mediocre job — he got nearly the limits of insurance and then fought Wal Mart through a long appellate process.

    Good comments about the health care system.

    As an aside, the Wal Mart in Maplewood is the dumps.

  37. newsteve says:

    If this was such a clear cut case, and the policy limits were 1 million dollars as you indicated, why did her attorney settle for anything less than policy limits. It sems to me that there was some thought that if the case was tried she might get less than what she settled for. Furthermore, a companies policy limits has really nothing to do with what she was owed if the company’s driver was at fault. If she won the case wholesale, got an award of 1 million dollars or more, she would get the 1 million dollars and then go after the trucking company and the driver for anything over the policy limits. Perhaps her husband, instead of divorcing her could still be married and running a trucking company today. Instead, the trucking company is probably still in business making money and the driver is probably still driving earning a paycheck. Regardless of what she got or what wal mart tried to get back, the fact still remains that we have a crappy health system that doesnt adequately care for those people who can neither physically or financially care for themselves.

  38. Nick Kasoff says:

    Craig – I’ll agree, a million dollars in liability is nowhere near enough liability coverage for a commercial truck.
    As far as the lawyer goes … well, it sounds like her settlement is not even close to covering her damages. Just because he got near the limit of their insurance coverage doesn’t mean it was an appropriately large settlement. Apparently, it doesn’t even cover the medical services she has already needed – and she’ll continue to need help for years. Nothing for pain and suffering either. Sounds to me like she deserved double or triple what she got. If the insurance didn’t cover it, the company would be making payments to her. Instead, she’s sitting flat broke and ruined in a nursing home.
    I agree that the Maplewood WalMart isn’t so great. But it’s a brand spankin’ new Super Center compared to Ferguson.

  39. Carondelet Ninja says:

    Mmmmm….these *chomp* Oreos are *munch* delicious AND cheap *gulp*…

  40. Craig says:

    newsteve, you are making the assumption that Shanks had a clearcut victory. I don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption when judging her settlement.

    Nick, you mention going after the trucking company and driver directly. Of course that is an option, but we don’t know if it is a feasible one. Again, it is wrong to jump on the lawyer when you don’t know the circumstances of this case.

  41. john w. says:

    Mmmmm…. these *chomp* manufacturing jobs are *munch* are delicious AND cheap if we chew them up and spit them out over other places in the world where worker pay, worker safety, and worker health is of no concern.

  42. Carondelet Ninja says:

    And you think a company taking a half million dollar hit on an insurance claim is going to help keep manufacturing jobs here?

    1. Company uses large purchasing leverage to pay supplier less for goods in effort to recoup out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of writing off reimbursement explicitly outlined in healthcare contract rider
    2. Supplier enacts costs cutting strategies, laying off workers
    3. Laid off workers lose healthcare coverage entirely. Cry woe is me, look for someone to blame.
    4. Oreo cookies, made Nabisco, who merged with Kraft, who was acquired by Philip Morris, entirely responsible for hundreds of lost jobs and uninsured children. Big tobacco to blame.
    5. Vilified by the masses, big tobacco moves entire operations overseas to countries where people eating mud pies are happy to work for pennies on the dollar to produce the same luxury crap that Americans didn’t really need in the first place.

    Let me know when you open your “100% made in the USA by union workers” store, Captain Patriotic. I’ll give it a shot. I’m nothing if not open minded.

  43. john w. says:

    Captain Patriotic… (maybe I should start using that one).


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