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Case Analysis: $44K Settlement For a Slip and Fall at Walmart in El Paso, TX

Slip and Fall at Walmart in El Paso, TX

What Happened:

Maria Dolores Minjarez went to a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, on June 21, 2017. While she was there, she slipped on some loose grapes that were on the floor. As a result, she fell and hurt various parts of her body, including her hip, head, and neck. She believed Walmart was responsible for her injuries because they didn’t keep the store clean and safe.

The Lawsuit:

Maria decided to sue Walmart, claiming that the store was responsible for her fall and injuries. She filed her lawsuit in a Texas state court, but Walmart moved the case to a federal court because the parties were from different states.

The Trial:

The trial took place from February 11-13, 2019. During the trial, Maria and several other witnesses testified about her injuries and the circumstances of her fall. Her main witness was Dr. Andrew Palafox, a specialist in orthopedic surgery and trauma treatment. He talked about the injuries Maria sustained and how they might have been caused by her fall at Walmart. Walmart, on the other hand, did not present any witnesses in their defense.

The Jury’s Decision:

The jury, which is a group of people who decide the outcome of the case, found that both Walmart and Maria were responsible for her injuries. They decided that Walmart was 50% responsible and Maria was 50% responsible. The jury awarded Maria $44,000 for her past medical expenses but did not give her any money for other damages like pain and suffering, future medical expenses, or loss of earning capacity.

Maria’s Request for a New Trial:

Maria was unhappy with the jury’s decision, especially the part where they awarded her no money for her pain and suffering. She asked the court for a new trial, arguing that the jury’s decision was unfair and didn’t make sense given the evidence she presented.

The Court’s Decision on the New Trial Request:

The judge reviewed Maria’s request for a new trial and looked at all the evidence again. Here’s a breakdown of the main points:

  1. Neck Injury:
    • Maria claimed she had a neck injury from the fall. Her doctor, Dr. Palafox, took x-rays and an MRI of her neck but found no significant abnormalities. The MRI showed some degenerative disc disease and arthritis, which could be caused by aging or previous injuries.
    • There was also evidence that Maria had been in a car accident in 2016, which injured her neck, back, and arm. Dr. Palafox did not know about this previous accident, and he couldn’t rule out the possibility that her neck issues were from the car accident instead of the fall at Walmart.
    • Because of this conflicting evidence, the jury could reasonably decide that her neck injury was not solely caused by the fall at Walmart.
  2. Bump on Her Shin:
    • A Walmart employee noticed a small bump on Maria’s shin after the fall. However, there was no testimony from Maria or her doctor that the bump was caused by the fall. Without clear evidence linking the bump to the fall, the jury could reasonably decide that it wasn’t significant enough to warrant compensation for pain and suffering.
  3. Torn Meniscus (Knee Injury):
    • Maria’s doctor believed she might have a torn meniscus in her knee from the fall. However, the MRI report stated that the abnormal signal in her knee could represent either degenerative changes (wear and tear over time) or a tear.
    • Because the MRI findings were not definitive, and considering Maria’s previous car accident, the jury could reasonably conclude that her knee issues might have been pre-existing or not solely caused by the fall at Walmart.


The judge decided that the jury’s decision was reasonable given the conflicting evidence about Maria’s injuries. Therefore, the judge denied her request for a new trial. Maria was awarded $44,000 for her past medical expenses, but no additional money for pain and suffering or other damages.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shared Responsibility: The jury found both Walmart and Maria responsible for her injuries.
  • Conflicting Evidence: The evidence about Maria’s injuries was not clear-cut. There were other possible causes for her injuries, such as a previous car accident and degenerative changes.
  • Jury’s Role: The jury has the power to decide the amount of compensation based on the evidence presented. They can choose to believe some evidence and disbelieve other evidence.
  • Medical Evidence: Clear and definitive medical evidence linking injuries directly to the incident is crucial for a favorable outcome in such cases.


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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and is based on a third-party case analysis. It should not be considered legal advice or a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified attorney. If you have specific legal concerns or questions, please seek the counsel of an experienced legal professional.

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