UPDATED - Walmart Statement on
Incident at Valley Stream Store
"Tomorrow morning we will release our sales numbers for the month of November. This event is overshadowed by the tragic death of Jdimytai Damour at our Valley Stream, New York store on November 28.
"We consider Mr. Damour part of the Wal-Mart family, and are saddened by his death. We have been in communication with members of his family to do what we can to help them through this difficult time. Our associates know that when incidents like this occur, we take care of our own.
"We will continue to work with local law enforcement officials so that together we can implement even stronger safety measures going forward."
--Hank Mullany, President, Northeast Division, Walmart U.S.
IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ generic Wal-Mart exterior/ author: Sven
A wrongful death lawsuit will be filed in the death of a temporary guard who was killed in a Wal-Mart stampede on Black Friday.
The three sisters and brother of Jdimytai Damour have hired the law firm of Hecht, Kleeger, Pintel and Damashek, of New York City.
"We’re going to be suing Wal-Mart as well as the owner of the mall, the security company, and we’re contemplating an action against the police and the county of Nassau, although we’re waiting to see what our investigation fleshes out about their involvement," Jordan Hecht told Fox News.
Damour, 34, a 6-foot 5-inch, 270-pound temporary worker died Friday morning, one hour after he fell under thousands of shoppers eager to get into the Valley Stream, Long Island store when the doors opened at 5 a.m.
He had been working there one week and was hired through an employment agency that provides temporary staffing. He had not been trained for any particular assignments. He had no background in security or crowd control, according to the family attorney.
The medical examiner has ruled he died of asphyxiation as hundreds of people among a crowd of about 2,000 stepped over his downed body.
"Literally anyone, those hundreds of people who did make their way into the store, literally had to step over or around him or unfortunately on him to get into the Wal-Mart store," said Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey to Fox News.
Damour was put at the door with no training largely because of his hulking frame, both police and lawyers conclude.
Nassau County Police are scanning the surveillance tape to try and identify individual shoppers involved.
Hecht says Wal-Mart should have had more security and been better prepared for the crowds responding to advertised sales on Plasma HDTVs and digital cameras. He says Damour’s death was preventable.
"There’s hundreds of other retailers that have done these types of promotions," he said. "Remember when the iPhone first came out? How many hundreds of people were on line there? You got a card, stood in line, single file, no problem. There are many different things available to Wal-Mart, none of which were used."
At least four other people were injured including an 8-month pregnant woman.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, the state of New York's largest grocery worker's union, has called for an investigation, according to CNN, to make sure this doesn’t happen at a Wal-Mart again.
"If the safety of their customers and workers was a top priority, then this never would have happened," said Patrick Purcell, a projects director for the local UFCW. "Wal-Mart must step up to the plate and ensure that all those injured, as well as the family of the deceased, be financially compensated for their injuries and their losses. Their words are weak."
Wal-Mart has made its fortune by offering low wages and few benefits for its workers. It pushes competitors and suppliers to do the same or go out of business.
The group has had only marginal success in organizing Wal-Mart workers in the United States and Canada, citing aggressive anti-union efforts by Wal-Mart.
Earlier this year Wal-Mart took public criticism for suing an employee who was injured in a trucking accident and recovered a small sum. The retailer’s health benefit plan wanted to re-coup some of what it paid out for her care. It later dropped the action.
In September, Wal-Mart was hit with a $185 Million verdict in favor of employees who worked "off the clock." The jury found that the policy violated the workers' rights by causing them to work overtime without receiving overtime pay, in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires time-and-a-half for hours above 40 per week.
General distain for the retailer is often seen on the Walmartsucks.org Web site. #