Wal-Mart Not Liable |for In-Store Bike Injury

     (CN) – Wal-Mart is not liable to the family of a boy who was hurt while riding a bike around its Batesville, Mississippi store, the state’s appellate court ruled on Wednesday.
     Seth Wilson, 10, went to Wal-Mart with his brother and his stepfather in April 2012. While his stepfather bought a basketball, Seth and his brother turned their attention to the bicycles.
     Both boys took bicycles that were on or near a display rack and began riding them up and down the aisles. However, Seth couldn’t stop the bike and crashed into a wall. He cut his leg on a shelf and had to have stitches.
     His mother, Suzette Purser, sued Wal-Mart for negligence, alleging that the company failed to keep the store safe. After discovery was completed, Wal-Mart filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Purser failed to prove that the existence of a dangerous condition in the store. The trial court agreed.
     Purser appealed, but the Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the decision in an opinion written by Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee.
     She argued on appeal that the unlocked bikes on the sales floor presented a dangerous condition. Purser also noted that an employee had been assigned to the area, and that other children were also riding bikes.
     Lee was not convinced.
     “There is nothing in the record to indicate that the assignment of an employee in the toy department was for the purpose of guarding against any known danger,” Lee wrote, “and evidence that other children rode bicycles in the same aisle in the same Wal-Mart without incident does not, in and of itself, tend to show that unlocked or readily accessible bicycles pose a danger.”
     Lee also stated that Purser provided no evidence of Wal-Mart’s policy regarding who can remove bicycles from the storage rack and whether employees were required to put the bikes back in the rack after children rode them.
     Lee said the argument and others that might grow out of it, “necessarily depends on
     whether an unlocked or readily available bicycle constitutes a dangerous condition.
     “If an unlocked or readily accessible bicycle does not constitute a dangerous condition, it does not matter whether a person of Seth’s age, experience, and intelligence could have perceived the danger because the danger did not exist. Because Seth failed to show how an unlocked or
     readily available bicycle constituted a dangerous condition, this issue is without merit,” Lee concluded.
     Suzette Purser’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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