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Wal-Mart Can Sue Major Shopping Cart Maker

(CN) - The world's largest shopping cart manufacturer, Unarco, may have to indemnify Wal-Mart over a New Jersey woman's injury, a federal judge ruled.

Marilyn Mock had been trying to grab a shopping cart at a Deptford, N.J., Wal-Mart in August 2010, when she allegedly tripped over a "piece of wire or metal substance," causing ankle inflammation and a torn ligament.

After Mock sued Wal-Mart for negligence, the store filed a third-party complaint against the shopping cart provider, Unarco.

The retailer noted Mock's identification of the metal scrap as "a piece of metal that was typically attached to the shopping carts that were in use at Wal-Mart on August 14, 2010."

U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas refused to dismiss Wal-Mart's claims last week, finding that they represent "classic derivative liability claims."

"Wal-Mart has alleged that plaintiff tripped over a piece of metal that dislodged from a shopping cart that Unarco manufactured," Irenas wrote. "If the piece of metal did detach from one of Unarco's shopping carts, that fact would not necessarily be a defense to Wal-Mart's liability. However, Wal-Mart might be entitled to contribution or indemnification from Unarco."

If Unarco's negligence led the piece of metal to dislodge, "any damages resulting from this suit would be squarely within the [Realty Supplier] Agreement's indemnification provision," Irenas found.

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