Judge: Walmart Not To Blame For Man Crashing Into Parking Lot Pole

Some of you may remember the story of the man who sued Walmart after he crashed his truck into a pole in one of the retail chain’s parking lots. Many readers were dismissive of the man’s claim that the store was at fault, and it looks like the judge in the case agreed.

The plaintiff in the case had stated that, after dropping someone off at the front entrance to the Walmart, he crashed his 1997 Chevy S10 truck into a “free-standing pole,” causing over $2,900 in damages.

The man claimed that a Walmart employee had told him that the pole had been the cause of six accidents and that its placement in the parking lot made it conducive to being crashed into.

However, the judge wrote in his decision, “The pole is painted bright yellow and is topped by a stop sign and marks the edge of a pedestrian crossing area.”

Maybe the sign jumped in front of his truck to try to score insurance money?

Walmart doesn’t have to pay driver who hit parking lot pole [Seacoastonline.com]


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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    As I said originally, if this picture above is indeed a picture of the pole in question, that man was a desperate idiot.

    • backinpgh says:

      I don’t think they are…I’m think they are talking about the shorter signs, at the edge of the drop off area. They actually are stop signs, warning you to stop for pedestrians. You still can’t miss them either way.

    • emax4 says:

      If you click the link for the location of the original article, you’ll see that it is the photo of the pole in question.

  2. Hi_Hello says:

    I hope his insurance rates goes way up. Anyone who can’t see a bright yellow pole… I don’t know if they should be allowed to drive or not…

    wonder how much they it cost him to sue.

    • beaner603 says:

      I believe the cost to file a small claim in NH District Court is $72. Damage awards are generally limited to $5k for small claims. Odds are this guy had nothing better to do than sit around court for a day and hope to hit up Wal-Mart for a big payoff, but thankfully, Sawako Gardner is no fool.

  3. dolemite says:

    I once backed my RX8 (that I no longer have) into a parking post at a restaurant. I actually believe it was their fault. The pole was at the end of a parking spot, about waist height, and painted entirely black. Of course my car and the rear spoiler was also black, so I didn’t see it. It put a small crease in my bumper, but I chalked it up to “I should have paid more attention”, even though that metal post should have been painted yellow or something.

  4. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I wish a lot more frivolous lawsuits would be tossed out. It’d also be nice to see idiots like this get a community service assignment for wasting the court’s time.

    • ARP says:

      Most of them are. We often see when they’re filed, because it causes the requisite outrage that news and policital organizations want. But its rare that the media follows up on them to say they were dismissed. The only exception was that insane dry cleaning case, and that’s only because he appealed multiple times and drove the defendants to the edge of bankruptcy.

  5. framitz says:

    My one and only accident happened when I was 16. I backed up at a supermarket and hit a light pole. I saw the pole, but didn’t see the 5 foot diameter concrete base. I hit the base hard enough to crush the exhaust pipe shut. So Shortly after I drove away the muffler exploded.

    My dad wasn’t as upset as I expected… it turned out he had hit the same pole a week before I hit it and he hit it the same way. I just finished off the exhaust system he had already damaged.

  6. ALP5050 says:

    This is my kind of judge!

  7. Mom says:

    I backed into a pole in a parking lot once, about 20 years ago. It happens. The back bumper of the car had a permanent scar in the exact center. I didn’t try to blame the pole, however.

  8. YokoOhNo says:

    i hope he was required to pay the defendant’s legal bills. shareholders should not be deprived of that money/value because of his lawsuit.

  9. PLATTWORX says:

    “Many readers were dismissive of the man’s claim that the store was at fault, and it looks like the judge in the case agreed.”

    “Many”? Some thought it was Walmart’s fault. Really?

    • ARP says:

      In the same sense that news organization have to present both sides, even where its obvious that the overwhelming majority of people and facts support one side.

    • George4478 says:

      Of course. 100% of people are never in agreement on ANYTHING, so some people will side against Walmart.

      “I don’t like Walmart. They drove my Mom out of business.”
      “Capitalism is ruining America. I hope they get hit for millions.”
      “Big W’s creep me out.”

  10. Milch says:

    “he crashed his 1997 Chevy S10 truck into a “free-standing pole,” causing over $2,900 in damages”

    That pole must have torn the truck to shreds! Even then it wouldnt have been over $2,900.

  11. AngryK9 says:

    The judge is probably a Consumerist reader.

  12. backinpgh says:
  13. What’s your problem, Kazanski? says:

    I didn’t catch this the first time, but he DIDN’T back into the pole. He drove straight into it. Idiot.

    “The receipts showed repairs included work on a license plate bracket, chrome grill, bumper, lamps, hood, radiator support and bug deflector.”

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Yep, I saw that on the first one which is why I thought he was an idiot. It was in FRONT of him. If he can’t see that pole and avoid it how can he avoid pedestrians or other cars?

      • kujospam says:

        Recently my wife knocked off the side mirror from a Mcdonald’s Yellow bar, by the drive through window. Luckily the wires still attached. Go duck tape. The sad part is, my wife was mad when I asked her to pay for the repairs, probably just as sad I asked her to pay. Just lately I have been using “my fun money” to spend on her mistakes, when she hasn’t used a dime of hers, but she doesn’t get as much either in a way.

  14. dudski says:

    We had this issue at a store I worked at – the pole were clearly visible but just about every weekend some speeding jackass would total a car on them. The fact that they were going that fast that close to the front of the store pretty much spoke for itself, though – if you took the poles out they’d just be hitting people.

    • humphrmi says:

      I think you hit on a very good point (pardon the pun). The pole may be poorly placed from a traffic standpoint, but it has probably also prevented some jagoffs from hitting pedestrians.

  15. operator207 says:

    I am surprised that his S10 is worth $2900. KBB (I know, not exactly correct) says it might be worth $2340 in excellent condition.

    • Not a Fan Boy says:

      He probably paid the repairs out of pocket seeing as he’d have no right to sue if his insurance paid for it.

      Paying more than a car is worth to repair it seems to fit this guy’s M. O.

  16. Buckus says:

    Dumbass is as dumbass does…

  17. Buckus says:

    Also, $2,900 in damages to a 1997 S-10 would have totaled the sucker.

  18. Costner says:

    How dare this judge use common sense to make a legal decision! If this keeps up our judicial system will actually be… dare I say it… a source of justice!

  19. Baron Von Crogs says:

    Thank god, a property owner shouldnt be held at fault for someone hitting an open and obvious fixed object.

  20. pyehac says:

    My car’s right side of its rear bumper has a lot of meetings with poles – most recently with a mailbox post at my cousin’s house. Did I sue the owner of the house? nope, because I chalked that one to experience and it was my fault for not turning my head and look towards the back (plus, my parents own that house, so I’d be out of free rent and probably be forced to take down the post and put in a new one to be taught a lesson).

  21. gman863 says:

    Maybe it’s time for Wal-Mart greeters to start giving breathalyzer tests.

  22. caldad says:

    I hit a pole at Wal Mart too, also painted yellow….the guy at the oil change center said people hit it all the time! Guess I won’t get any money from them for being stupid either

  23. MurderGirl says:

    If only the judge had confiscated the guy’s license for being “too stupid to drive”.

  24. maynurd says:

    Now if we can get Walmart to start towing some of these idiots who think the fire lanes at the stores are their personal parking spaces. Sometimes I want to beat their cars with the no parking signs that they just parked right next to.

  25. maynurd says:

    How fast was he going at the time to cause that amount of damage anyway?
    Why do so many people turn into total idiots when driving in a parking lot?

  26. Janice says:

    The same thing has happened numerous times at the store I used to work at. Once I saw the person talking on a cell phone and damaged the entire passenger side of truck. Another time driver slammed directly into a pole actually knocking it out of the ground and pushing the middle of the front end of his brand new truck about 1 1/2 feet in. This type has happened numerous times. How does one not see the poles? They aren’t that small and are bright yellow and placed in the same places throughout the entire parking lots.