Walmart Not Responsible For Morons Who Say Racist Things Over Store Intercom

You probably remember the 16-year-old idiot from New Jersey who in 2010 commandeered the public address system at his local Walmart to announce, “Attention Walmart customers: All black people must leave the store.” The teen’s subsequent arrest was not the end of the story, as at least one shopper has tried to sue Walmart for damages related to the incident. But a federal judge has ruled that Walmart should not be held responsible for the actions of the teen.

“The court has completely and finally dismissed the suit without finding any wrongdoing by Walmart,” a Walmart rep tells the Courier-Post about the lawsuit, which describes the incident as an “imminent terrorist threat” that resulted in “substantial sickness” for the plaintiff.

“We’re pleased that we can move forward,” said Hargrove, who noted Walmart had upgraded its intercom systems in an effort to prevent future offenses.

Citing a New Jersey court ruling that declined to hold a defendant liable for “allegedly discriminatory comments made by an unknown person that was neither an agent nor an employee,” the judge held that Walmart could not be held “vicariously liable for the offensive speech of one of its customers.”

The plaintiff’s attorney contends that because this thick-headed teen had done something similar at the same store a few months earlier, Walmart should have done something to prevent the second incident from occurring.

But the judge explained that “One or two isolated, random events, no matter how egregious, are not enough to put a defendant on notice of the potential risk of harm.”

Walmart says it has improved its intercom systems in the hopes of preventing a similar incident in the future.

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  1. petepuma03 says:

    Now what needs to happen is that the person who filed this frivolous lawsuit needs to pick up all legal expenses for everyone involved. Alas, I won’t hold my breath.

    • MathManv2point0 says:

      I suppose Wal-mart could have counter-sued to that effect but if they’re just looking for a fovorable ruling which releases Wal-mart of any liability my understanding is that it’s easier to keep the suit as simple as possible.

    • PhillyDom says:

      What legal expenses? Walmart has in-house counsel; they’d be paying them whether or not this case arose.

  2. Psylent1 says:

    Does this mean employees can sue customers for the things they say to them?