LINCOLN, NE – An eastern Nebraska man has sued Wal-Mart, saying the failure of an overfilled plastic shopping bag led to the death of his wife.
The lawsuit was first filed in February by William Freis, of Plattsmouth, in Sarpy County but has since been moved to U.S. District Court in Omaha, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
The lawsuit says the bag failed on April 16, 2010, outside a Wal-Mart store in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue. The lawsuit says a cashier placed two 42-ounce cans of a La Choy product and a 2-pound bag of rice in a single bag and handed it to Lynette Freis.
The bag broke as she carried it to her car, the lawsuit says, and one of the cans fell on her right big toe, cutting and fracturing it. The injuries led to an infection that spread through her body and, despite antibiotics, hospitalizations and two surgical procedures, "ultimately resulted in her death on March 12, 2011."
The lawsuit says Wal-Mart failed to properly train its employees on filling the bags or when double-bagging should be employed.
The lawsuit also named the bag's manufacturer, Hilex Poly Co., of Hartsville, S.C., alleging that the bag was defective, and St. Louis-based Bunzle Distribution, which provided the bag to Wal-Mart.
The lawsuit seeks nearly $657,000 for medical and funeral expenses, plus an unspecified amount for her pain and suffering and the loss to her husband.
Neither Wal-Mart nor the other defendants has yet filed an answer to the allegations, but Wal-Mart had sought to move the case to federal court.
Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove extended condolences to the Freis family and said "customer safety is a top priority, and we take it seriously any time an injury is reported in one of our stores."