Alleged Retail Safety Negligence Following Injury Due to Falling Merchandise

This case study explores an incident of negligence at a large, warehouse-style retail store where an adult was injured by falling merchandise.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 7, 2024

Young man shopping in retail store

Case Overview

This case study delves into an incident at a large, warehouse-style retail store where a customer sustained injuries due to falling merchandise. The store provided platform carts for customers' use, and one such cart was used by a customer to stack numerous boxes of chicken wings. These boxes were stacked precariously high and left unattended for an extended period.

Despite multiple employees passing by the hazard, no action was taken to rectify the situation or warn other customers of the potential danger. As the plaintiff walked past the cart, the unstable pile of boxes toppled over onto them, causing them to fall and sustain injuries. The central issue in this case is the alleged negligence of the store in addressing this clear hazard and failing to convey safety instructions to their customers.

Questions to the Retail Safety expert and their responses


Please describe your professional background in retail safety, specifically pertaining to big box stores.

I have amassed over 25 years of experience in retail management as a safety leader with major retailers such as Target and Kohls. My expertise extends to warehouse-style stores similar to Costco.


Briefly, what are some standards that exist for retail employees at big box retailers to address potential hazards to customers?

In my extensive experience, one of the most critical aspects is ensuring that your team addresses any safety concerns promptly as they arise. To prevent situations like this from happening, it's essential that employees avoid stocking during peak hours when customers are present.

Regular safety walks should be conducted to identify and mitigate potential hazards. It's also vital that staff members don't ignore any concerning situations they come across; immediate action should be taken.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I have opined on approximately 25 cases, some of which involved warehouse-style stores like the one in question.

About the expert

This expert brings over two decades of experience in retail management and safety, with a BA in Business Administration. They have held significant roles such as District Safety Manager and General Manager at major retailers like Target Corporation, Kohl's Corporation, and JCPenney, where they managed workers' compensation and general liability claims while implementing safety improvements. Currently, this expert serves as the General Manager at a large clothing retailer and consults for a retail safety firm, further solidifying their expertise in retail safety practices.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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