Martin Walker attorneys secure historic verdict in Smith County for plaintiff struck by shoplifter’s vehicle
TYLER, Texas – A Smith County jury has awarded $4.3 million to a worker injured when a Walmart shoplifter rammed him with his car upon fleeing the scene.
The trial lawyers of Martin Walker PC represented Scott Lacy in against Walmart. In July 2020, Arkansas native Mr. Lacy was working as a subcontractor at Walmart in Tyler. He was in the lawn and garden center when multiple Walmart employees yelled for help in apprehending a shoplifter. The employees and Mr. Lacy chased the shoplifter into the parking lot to retrieve the stolen merchandise, and then one employee instructed Mr. Lacy to release the suspect.
Mr. Lacy was walking back toward the Walmart store when the shoplifter struck him with his vehicle and catapulted him into a pole, shattering his ankle, which later required multiple surgeries to repair. Mr. Lacy also suffered a traumatic brain injury.
The jury was shown evidence of negligence on Walmart’s part for inadequate training and understanding of the company’s shoplifting policy, commonly referred to as AP-09, which details the serious risks involved with approaching, detaining, restraining and pursuing shoplifters.
“If the Walmart staff were properly trained, this whole incident would have been preventable,” said renowned personal injury attorney Jack Walker. “We hope this verdict sends a message to major companies that employee and guest safety should be a priority over profit and merchandise.”
Jurors ordered Walmart to pay $4.3 million to Mr. Lacy for the incident, the largest local verdict against a major retail company in recent memory. The suspect, Herbert Vanderkinter, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and property theft. He was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The case is Scott A. Lacy v. Walmart Stores et al., Cause no. 21-2858-B in the 114th Judicial District Court in Smith County, Texas.
About Martin Walker PC
Martin Walker PC is a Tyler-based law firm with significant trial expertise representing individuals and businesses in high-stakes litigation, including medical malpractice, catastrophic injuries involving 18-wheeler accidents, oilfield injuries, wrongful death and product liability.