Jurors have ruled that a wholesale club was partially responsible for a million dollars in damages suffered by a Greenville County woman hurt by another customer’s cart because the shopping conveyance was stacked too high.
The matter was later settled.
Attorney Cameron “Bozzie” Boggs of Boggs Law Firm said that his client Frieda Elledge was entering the store at the same time another man was leaving.
“He had boxes stacked higher than his sight line so we sued Costco based on the theory that they created the environment,” said Boggs. “He bought goods from them and they provided the empty box that was stacked on top of the goods and they allowed him to walk having impaired vision.”
When the other party turned, Elledge was struck by the cart. Boggs said his client suffered a brain bleed, a broken arm with pins inserted, tinnitus in the ears and anxiety from the incident.
He said Costco argued the encounter was not their fault and that the third party involved or the plaintiff herself bore responsibility for the mishap. However, Boggs said that an employee of the defendant was checking receipts of customers exiting the store and should have seen any dangers associated with the stack of boxes.
He also said it was likely that the cart was packed by representatives of the store.
“Ninety-five percent or more of all carts are stacked by Costco employees,” he said. “When I asked about their policy, it was that they shouldn’t be stacked above the rim of the carts. They provide flatbed carts if you have a lot of goods.”
Boggs said that the defendant’s premises had video equipment but they were unable to locate any footage of the checkout process or the collision.
He said no punitive damages were sought in the matter.
Jurors ultimately found Costco only 60 percent responsible for $1 million worth of injuries to Elledge and put 30 percent fault on the other customer who was earlier dismissed from the suit. Ten percent responsibility was assigned to the plaintiff.
Boggs said that a settlement was reached with the defendant after the verdict. The terms of the agreement were confidential.
He listed Steve Pugh and Wilder Harte of Richardson, Plowden & Robinson as representing the defense. They did not return a request for comment.
VERDICT and SETTLEMENT REPORT – PREMISES LIABILITY
Amount: $1 million (not including allocation of fault)
Injuries alleged: Brain bleed, broken arm
Case name: Frieda Elledge; John Elledge v. Costco Wholesale Corporation
Court: Greenville Court of Common Pleas
Case No.: 2018CP2305124
Date of verdict and settlement: March 16 and April 6, 2022
Demand: Offer of judgement for $75,000
Highest offer: $0
Attorney for plaintiff: Cameron “Bozzie” Boggs of the Boggs Law Firm in Greenville
Attorneys for defendant: Steve Pugh and Wilder Harte of Richardson, Plowden & Robinson in Columbia