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Conques v. Wal-Mart Stores

February 15, 2001

ANNA MAE CONQUES
V.
WAL-MART STORES, INC.



APPEAL FROM THE 15th JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 96-4659 HONORABLE PATRICK L. MICHOT

(Court Composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, John D. Saunders, and Billie Colombaro Woodard, Judges.)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Saunders, Judge.

JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE

WOODARD, J. CONCURS IN THE RESULTS.

REVERSED IN PART; AFFIRMED IN PART.

Ms. Anna Mae Conques appeals the trial court's decision to grant the summary judgment motions of Wal-Mart Store, Inc. (Wal-Mart), Automatic Door Systems, Inc. (Automatic Door), and Stanley Access Technologies (Stanley). On appeal, we reverse the trial court's decision as to its grant of summary judgment in the instance of Wal- Mart. We affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Automatic Door and Stanley.

FACTS

On July 10, 1996, Ms.Conques went shopping at Wal-Mart #534 located at 1229 Northwest Evangeline Throughway in Lafayette, Louisiana. At that time, Anna Mae Conques was 70 years of age and was using a walker to move about due to her rheumatoid arthritis. Ms. Conques was accompanied by her husband, Floyd Conques. As they were leaving Wal- Mart, Mr. Conques walked through the automatic exit doors from the store into the vestibule. Ms. Conques attempted to follow her husband out of the store, but the left automatic double door located between the store and the vestibule struck her. This blow caused her to hit the handrail and fall onto the floor. Immediately thereafter, Mr. Conques turned to speak to his wife, and he saw her sitting on the floor. Mr. Conques noticed that one of the exit doors was open while the other exit door was closed. From this fall, Ms. Conques sustained injuries, including a broken left arm, bruised ribs, a left shoulder injury, and back injury. Ms. Conques was confined to her bed for nearly a month following the accident.

Plaintiff filed suit against Wal-Mart on September 25, 1996. Discovery in this matter has been on-going since the time of suit. During the course of discovery, Plaintiff submitted the following interrogatory to Wal-Mart:

INTERROGATORY NUMBER 1

Has anyone ever claimed to have been injured or struck by the automatic doors at Wal-Mart Store location #534? If so, please state:

a) The name, address and telephone number of the person(s) struck or injured; and

b) Which automatic doors struck or injured the person(s).

In response to this interrogatory, Wal-Mart stated: Attached please find copies of incident reports which reflect customers who have claimed to have been struck or injured by the automatic doors only.

1) 10/05/96 Thelma Roddie

2) 11/06/96 J. Denis Landry

3) 02/15/99 Eve Lavergne

The incident reports supplementing these interrogatory answers did not reveal which automatic doors were involved in these incidents. Rather than refer to the door's number, the incident reports referred to the doors as "Automatic Exit Doors", "Front Exit Doors-Automatic", "Front Doors (exit)".

Later, Wal-Mart filed a supplemental answer to Interrogatory Number 1. In this supplemental answer, Wal-Mart stated:

Attached please find copies of incident reports which reflect customers who have claimed to have been struck or injured by automatic doors only, from 1993 to March 1, 1999:

1) 10/05/96 Thelma Roddie

2) 11/06/96 J. Denis ...


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