Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wal-Mart Sues Brain Damaged Employee

Seven years ago Deborah Shank was a working mother employed at Wal-Mart when an accident with a semi changed her entire life. The accident left her with permanent brain damage and confined to a wheelchair when trying to get around.

Shank (52), seen here with her family, was awarded an accident settlement of $700k but legal and other expenses left her with $417k. The money was placed into a trust to cover Shank's future medical expenses and nursing home care.

Wal-Mart's health plan covered the medical expenses incurred by Shank. The company also sued the trucking company who owned the semi.

But when Wal-Mart found out about the settlement awarded to Shank they sued her for $470K, the amount they spent on her medical expenses.

I would like to tell you that the court denied this cruel lawsuit by Wal-Mart but I can't. In August 2006 a federal court ruled in favour of the Wal-Mart suit.

The decision has left Shank in dire straights. She is now forced to depend on social security and Medicaid to survive. And if you think things could not get worse for Shank and her family, it does.

Six days after the court approved Wal-Mart's suit, Shank's 18 year old son was killed in Iraq. But even this tragedy did not sway Wal-Mart's decision to collect.

The insurance terms under which Wal-Mart sought to recoup its expenses is known as "subrogation" and it allows Wal-Mart, and most other company health plans, the right to collect its expenses where an injury settlement has been awarded.

Of course, insurance companies argue that subrogation is needed to keep costs down for its members.

And in the interests of keeping costs down for its employees, Wal-Mart has just spent Shank's life for the benefit of their employees.



Shus li said...

Just when I think these corporations, typified well by Wal-Mart, cannot be any less compassionate, I get an unpleasant surprise like this one.

This is shocking! Yet it demonstrates all too well aspects of the Amurikan way of life. Working for probably minimum wage at good ol' Wal-Mart, while sending Son off to fight an illegal and immoral war. Now she gets to live in some crappy nursing home for the rest of her life.

Dade said...

What a disgusting outrage! I wonder, has it always been like this? Have the rich and powerful always preyed on the weak and helpless like this? I suppose so. Eventually they go too far, and the underclass rises up in a swell of blood-letting and throw them down. But then a new power elite arises....

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Eugene said...

You know, if Wal-Mart had its staff of lawyers, insurance execs, and the whole Walton family killed, they could save a heckuva lotta money...

I'm just sayin.

Jesus, man, why is it they feel the need to hurt the fu** out of folks even worse than they already have. I know the usual BS, but it is actually creating a bigger bottom line for folks who already have way too much money already.

Johnny Getchyur Gun!

Dione said...

I am so glad you posted this, because it’s important for people to know about this company’s exploitation of people. The story of this family is as powerful as it gets.
Not knowing even where to begin, let’s just say that from retail standpoint Wal-Mart is one of the most successful rich corporations! They buy the most merchandise per square feet than any company, and profit hugely. They are the number one retailer.
So, this is a company that is in the position to treat their employees, citizens, shoppers the proper way and they don’t. Wal-Mart has been in serious trouble over the last quite a few years for everything from not paying minimum wage, to not paying overtime. This was a big deal, and they got busted for this. It is illegal for such actions, and it would seem that big companies like Wal-Mart who has been so successful, would not want to afford the bad reputation it has. But,,,, people keep shopping there!!!!!
This latest issue, about this poor woman and her family should be the final straw! How outrageous, and cruel, dirty and disgusting!! It goes even deeper, Wal-Mart even screws the other cooperation’s it deals with, and it its buying practices. I hear everyone giving Nike such a hard time, Wal-Mart is doing the same thing in China!! They are largely profitable due to the cheap labor, and horrible exploitation of minorities, and their own customers.
I have only been to one Wal-Mart, which was down in Klamath Falls, and plan on never ever returning. I hope there is some justice for this woman and her family. Something needs to be done, not that any money could ever take the place of having full functions of your body. Wal-Mart has striped it all away, and if you shop there and buy cheap whatever your supporting a company that is cruel, dirty and bad for America and beyond!!

Ridwan said...

Shush li, Dade, Eugene, and Dione thanks for your comments.

There should be laws to protect employees from this kind of devastation.