A friend passed this to me, and after reading it I gotta say, I'm angry with Walmart - again.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/walmar … index.html
Now, if you're angry like me about this by the time you finish reading the story, here's Walmart's contact info so you can write them and plead with them to do something a bit less cutthroat to this poor woman.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW Eighth Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716
Customer Relations: 800-WAL-MART
This company ( Wal-Mart ) continues to do some really shitty things and yes I for one will be writing them again. Thanks gamergirl. The world needs to know about this.
If they are going to take the winnings of her law suit, the least they could do is give her back the cost of her legal expenses to win it in the first place ...
That would be a neat exchange, Jenny.
Honestly, the fact that they didn't HAVE to take the money from this woman and thrust her and her family into intense poverty (200,000 in debt, thanks Walmart!) but they did anyway makes me so mad!
I agree, Charlotte! And I will be writing them as well. I also think it is awful that the courts are allowing this to happen to families like this!
My husband's mother was killed in an auto accident in which a guy ran a red light and was traveling about 80 in a 45 zone. She lived for 9 days on life support before her sons had to make that dreaded decision.
The man had $100,000 insurance and settled out of court. Out of that 100,000, Medicare filed for a portion of the hospital bills back, the attorney got his cut, her car had to be paid off, etc., etc. After all was said and done, they got a whopping $6100 each. That was just enough to cover the loan we had to get to save everything we had after being out of state for almost a month. And to top that off, one of her life insurances refused to pay saying that she had health problems before she got the policy that would have kept them from insuring her if they had known it. I know that to be BS. The other life insurance had a double indemnity clause but refused to pay double saying the accident didn't kill her and she died of natural causes!
If that had been one of their family members in that operating room having metal car parts extracted from their body and having to cut out parts of their body due to the severe damage only to find out that she would never come home anyway, they would have seen just how "unnatural" that situation was! It is sickening what attorneys, hospitals and people like Wal Mart are allowed to do to people in court. Thanks for posting this Charlotte! This makes me want to get on the truck with Danny for a day when he is going to Bentonville! He hauls strictly Wal Mart but doesn't work for their company, thank goodness!
I worked for Wally world a few times, until I realized they care about no one but themselves. I also believe Walmart is destroying our small towns and the stores which used to line the streets of these towns. What price do we ultimately have to pay in order for Walmart to grow annually by leaps and bounds. Now they take away money from mentally challenged persons and their families? Ugh! (and I thought George Bush was an ass!)
The lawyers collected over $500M of the lawsuit award and people are more concerned about Walmart? I loathe Walmart as much as anyone and would never shop there, but I think it is a bit silly to suggest that they are committing some wrong here by following the procedures clearly outlined by their insurance program.
If you win money in a lawsuit related to your healthcare, then every insurance company is going to recoup the funds that they've paid out in the interim. While insurance companies pull many shady things to get out of covering expenses that they should be obligated to cover, I don't think this instance is an example of one.
Yes, embitca, it's legal. But it's dirty pool nevertheless. Insurance companies, like many other big businesses, have strong lobbies and obscene amounts of money that allow them to put just about anything they want in their policies. The average worker is given only one option: Take it or leave it. Changing insurers is not an option either because all of them are powerful enough to call the shots. Walmart makes billions of dollars a year. It doesn't need to include this kind of provision in its policies.
I'll agree with you that the current state of healthcare in the US is obscene and we wouldn't even have these problems if we had universal healthcare, but as things currently stand I'll have to agree to disagree on this particular case. I don't think it is dirty pool.
The family that filed the lawsuit was expecting to be able to double-dip. They can't. And in my opinion, it is the double-dipping that is unethical here, not the refusal of it, regardless of Walmart's billions. Policies like theirs do a lot more than just protect Walmart's interests, they protect the interests of other insured people. Walmart's employees contributing to the insurance plan are the ones who paid for the $400M or so in medical expenses for that poor woman. The money didn't come out of Walmart's profits, that's for sure.
Under a different system -- such as the one Lissie mentions in NZ -- they probably would never have been allowed to sue in the first place. If we had a national health system, they'd have to revamp the legal system to go along with it because otherwise our Sue Happy Nation would be shooting itself in the face.
If we had decent, affordable medical care in the USA there would be no need for families to sue. BTW, notice that the lawyers got their money--the only person being screwed here is the little guy. In human terms this is appalling. Not only is the woman totally disabled, her poor husband is working two jobs and their son was just killed in Iraq--they need help and they should get it from somewhere. Walmart must have a corporate foundation. The Walton family certainly could pass the hat and come up with half a million and for public relations purposes would be well advised to do so. I think the family has a foundation too. Walmart certainly has some responsibility here in moral if not legal terms. I for one, will never set foot in a Walmart again.
Many years ago, a British Prime Minister (a Conservative as it happens) coined the phrase "the unacceptable face of capitalism", which would appear to be highly applicable here.
I rarely side with an insurance company or Walmart, but in this case they have a point. To Have insurance pay for care and then win a lawsuit based on that care and expect to keep the money is double dipping. The issue really comes down to the lottery mentality that the trial lawyers have created. While this is one of those extreme cases, discretion is just one more invitation for the lawyers to abuse the system. In the end, the rest of us end up paying because the insurance companies and lawyers will always get their money. The only way to reverse the course in this country is to make people responsible for their action and their health and to stop promoting the injury jackpot mentality. This is a sad case, but it happens all the time. Our legal system is enabling large companies and lawers to suck the life out of this country.
The basic problem is the sue everyone mentality - in NZ you aren't allowed to sue - if you travel to NZ are injured in a car accident the NZ government will pay for your injuries and rehabilitation while you are in the country but you can't sue the person responsible. That's the deal - it means that you don't get large payouts - but without the lawyers you don't actually need them! The damage to the car is paid for by the car insurance - the parties responsible if they are insured otherwise your car insurance. If the person responsible for the accident was acting illegally they will be charged with an offense.
I'm writing to "Wal Mar" Today! If they must save face, let them be legally correct, and then make a donation of 1,000,000+ for all this woman's troubles. They could be the hero. Why not? I can't help but think that Sam Walton would have donated to her in a heartbeat. maybe I'm wrong....but they can make the world proud of them by writing a check they would never miss. Come on corporate world, do something good!!! Righteous Anger unite Marisue
This company sound a bit like coles and woolworths In australia.
They do not want a piece of the pie they expect and demand the whole lot and deliberately destroy smaller businesses to take control
That's Wal Mart! And they are the biggest employer in the USA. Jericho Usher wrote a great hub about his time working there that I came across last night. Go have a look.
http://hubpages.com/_hyxqmr7fds6j/hub/W … ut-walmart
I am with Embitca and Funnebone here. Also, counting money in somebody else's pocket never looked like a viable pastime to me... be it a neighbor, colleague, Exxon, or Wall Mart...
Your point is well taken, Misha. If I own a bakery and you are starving and broke, it is not up to me to provide you with free bread--especially if I need the income to feed myself....and if I feed you for free, I will have everybody in the neighborhood looking for free bread from me. However, if I lock up the bakery one night, and see you fainting from hunger outside the shop, how can I as a fellow human being not go back in and get you a loaf of bread? I do think that Walmart has some sort of moral obligation here--and besides in the long run it would be good business for them.
Robie, we hear only one side, and we hear only what that side wants to tell us. I am not sure your analogy will hold if we learn all the details from both sides. The fact that court decided in the favor of Wall Mart makes me thinking the story is not that obvious the reporter wants us to believe... And, the fact that the reporter tries hard to exploit our emotions inflicts serious doubts about his/her objectivity...
Well here's a link to an interview with the disabled woman's lawyer which fleshes things out a bit more. Go have a look.
http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/ar … raham.html
The fact that the court decided in favor of Walmart tells me that our legal system is not working right:-) OJ Simpson was also found innocent of murder too.
However, you are right about the media being sensationalistic and far from objective....and manipulative. I hope more will be revealed as time goes on.The story is getting less and less play. But I still think Wal-Mart would be well advised to do the right thing morally.
Here's another link to an article with a link to an online petition
http://littlerock.about.com/b/2008/03/3 … t-evil.htm
Her lawyer? The one that collected half a million in fees on this case? Thank you, I think he has too much interest here to be considered trusted witness
Ralph, yeah, you have the point and I agree to it. However, all or almost all businesses are the same in this regard, profit is what they are built for, so it's kinda idealistic to expect any business to give up the money without fight, even if this is the right thing to do...
We have both sides of the story. We are told that Wal-Mart's health plan policy gives the company the legal right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit
The reporter emphasizes the victim's side of the story because that's "the news."
The problem is that this is a typical case of big corporations versus the little guy. The language in the policy is strictly one-sided; it's written by big business (the insurer or Walmart, or both.)
If the worker wants insurance, he's given only Hobson's Choice: Take it or leave it!
Walmart's right to recoup its expenses from any lawsuit should significantly reduce the premium paid, but I doubt the reduction, if any, amounts to a hill of beans. The bottom line is that Walmart and the insurance company are throwing their weight around at the expense of the worker. Much of this corporate power stems from the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, as interpreted, that corporations are "persons" with the same rights as citizens. That ruling is a travesty.
Actually, the US Supreme Court did not create this ruling. US law is based on English common law, and the definition of a corporation as a "person" under the law has been in that body of law since limited liability corporations were invented.
If a company was not a person, then you could not make a legally binding contract with a company - which would mean that all employment contracts would be invalid, along with all bank accounts, insurance policies, cell phone accounts, etc, etc, etc.
The only reason that you have any protection from business predators under the law is that corporations are persons and therefore enter into contracts with you, their employees and customers. Because WalMart is a person under the law, it was required to deliver the health benefits it promised to its worker.
Before the time of limited liability corporations, the care of injured workers was at the whim of charitable urges from the local Earl or Duke.
I assure you, that situation was much, much worse than the way we live today!
I don't condone some of the outcomes of the current system, but the existence of corporations as persons under the law is not the problem - it is part of the solution.
I am not a lawyer, Inspirehub, perhaps you are, but the Supreme Court has made a number of rulings that affect the personhood of corporations. Of course the court did not "create" the ruling, but the deficiencies of current law are allowed to exist. While corporate "persons" evolved to help solve such problems as contractual relations with corporations, I believe the result is chaos. Current law is not the only way to handle contracts. Just as Walmart and other corporations offer the "take it or leave it" option, so does current law, which should be changed. Real persons and corporate persons are not on the same playing field. Action by the Supreme Court is virtually the only way that corporations can be tamed. Corporations may be "persons" under the law, but they still are not human.
Whatever the legal answer is it's pretty clear that WalMart made a dumb move from a public relations standpoint. Sometimes it's not smart to press a legal position just because you can. Taking the money from a woman in dire straits whose son had just been killed serving his country in Iraq confirmed many peoples suspicion that WalMart will do anything it can to squeeze the last ounce of profit out of its employees and the public.
We haven't supported walmart, or any of its subsidiaries for years, for ethical reasons. It has been inconvenient at times since Walmart is less that 2 miles away.
Writing letters is great, but it is also important to know about the company that your hard earned money supports. That way you can decide if you want to continue to support it and be identified with it or to choose to support another company that more closely matches your own ethics and views.
Do some research on their standards, their employee benefits, and most of all their trade policies...it is the consumer, after all, that holds the key to life and death for the retailer.
Well, after all the fuss, I think its only fair to note that today Wal-Mart did the right thing and withdrew their claim--smart business decision I think. What goes around comes around. Good for Wal-Mart.
Not only did they withdraw their claim, but they are changing the policy they have to support a more lenient system where they will evaluate special cases so this never has to happen again.
A major victory for the family, it's just sad that it took nation-wide coverage and thousands of protesting people to get Walmart to wise up.
Well now I feel a lil' better. I read that article the other day and was so sick about it I didn't even know what to say. Thanks for bringing the story AND THE UPDATE into light gamergirl.
I hate walmart! Their employees are miserable. Their customer service stinks! They pay people like peasants and they take away business from small business owners that are trying their hardest to make ends meat. I don't shop their anymore, as a matter of fact, I can't find anywhere to shop anymore where I can find an american made product that's not going to break out my skin or give me some kind of disease. It just ticks me off that our government is allowing our country to be taken over by the rest of the world. Where is the pride that America used to have!
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