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Apr 1, 2008

Focus:Corporate Responsibility
Action Request:Petition
Location:California, United States

Sent out via E-Mail from Wal Mart Watch:


First of all, let it be known that I'm Debbie Shank's son, and not some random dude putting in his two cents.

That being said, here's the skinny...When we sued the trucking company, our lawyer told us that the only amount we could get off of the trucking company was what the truck was insured for...namely, a million dollars. As they were a small trucking company, they had no real net worth, and the amount we could sue them for was just for their insurance.

When we received the settlement of 1 million, a third of that was paid out to the lawyers. After that, my dad was given a portion of that to make up for lost wages. We told Wal-Mart about all of this, and they basically said "Okay." and did nothing. We set up the rest, 417K, to take care of mom. We took care of her for three years on that, but when the statute of limitations was set to expire on Wal-Mart suing us, they literally had days left, they filed to sue us. Our lawyer told us at the time that they were only doing this to keep their options open, but Wal-Mart decided that they wanted to go after the settlement, as they say time and time again, "out of fairness for everyone in the medical plan".

And so it went. The first ruling came August 31, 2006. At the time it was the worst thing that had happened. Six days later, my brother was killed. Dad said "Fine. Whatever. They won." We were without any will to keep going. Our lawyers said "We'll appeal. You just don't worry about things. We'll take care of all of it."

Appeal after appeal, Wal-Mart won them all. We finally appealed to the Supreme Court. Last week, they said they weren't going to take our case. We lost. Now, Wal-Mart can't take any more money than we had in the trust fund, so they get that. But, we still have 150K in outstanding medical bills. We have a fund set up that has accepted donations, but it quickly depletes due to bills. Even with government assistance, we still must pay anywhere from 500-1000 per month to keep mom in the nursing home, and that's not counting bills she has from trips to the hospital (a couple weeks ago she was bleeding internally) . The outstanding bills we have, they can sue my father directly, so it's looking like he may have to sell his home at least. My youngest brother, if he wants to have the money to go to college, will himself either have to take out thousands in loans or join the military.

Dad has worked all his life, was set to retire in 5 years, but now it's looking as if he'll have to work longer and longer. Plus he has cancer to worry about.

So, that's the story. I have a feeling that somewhere along the lines, be it by Wal-Mart, the courts, the lawyers, the trucking company, or a combination of all, we've been taken advantage of. We could only sue for so much, we had to pay the lawyers, the courts decided to maintain the status quo, and Wal-Mart sold it's soul.

Whoever's fault it is, we're screwed. Plain and simple.

In case anyone was wondering if this is the real deal or not, there it is plain and simple.  Please take a minute out of your day and sign the petition to get WalMart to do the right thing.  Thank you!

http://action.walmartwatch.com/page/s/debbieshank

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/loneprimate/89840869/
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Tuesday April 1, 2008, 10:09 am
Tags: disability walmart [add/edit tags]

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Mary F. (0)
Tuesday April 1, 2008, 2:48 pm
I'm sad about your brother's college funding issues, but that's a problem shared by tens of millions of people all around the country and really neither here nor there in the scheme of your mom's story. Parents aren't obligated to put their kids through college (except, oddly enough, the issue can be raised and court ordered in the event of divorce in a number of states).

I also certainly pray that the news reports are incorrect when they refer to the family breaking the news about your brother's death over and over to your mom. This just seems cruel, even if her emotional torture only lasts so long as it takes her to forget this news, given her short-term memory problems -- rather, I would think it would be better to say that he will visit tomorrow. Yes?

What Walmart is doing is reprehensible, but I also want to know why it is that your attorney didn't bother to address this before agreeing to settle the case with the trucking company's insurer. Letting it go with Walmart saying "okay" in response to news of the settlement is just plain crazy, as is assuming Walmart wouldn't come after its money. In fact, before the attorney ever agreed to settle, he should have addressed the subrogation issue formally with the health plan, seeking agreement on the part of medical care providers as to reductions in amounts owed, etc., etc. This was a grievous breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the attorney, whatever benevolent feelings your family still has for this person. I hope he's been handling all these appeals for free, if in fact he's been the one handling them.

The trucking company being small, by the way, is not reason not to have gone after it in full vs. settling. I presume the attorney addressed the legal issue of whether it could pierce the corporate veil and go after any assets of principal owners. What upsets me is the fact that having *many* times that $1 million policy coverage limit wouldn't have cost the goobers much more (perhaps they were under the gross misimpression, without even asking about premiums, that it would have cost 5x as much for a $5 million policy). Yeesh.

Mary F. (0)
Tuesday April 1, 2008, 4:09 pm
I'm sad about your brother's college funding issues, but that's a problem shared by tens of millions of people all around the country and really neither here nor there in the scheme of your mom's story. Parents aren't obligated to put their kids through college (except, oddly enough, the issue can be raised and court ordered in the event of divorce in a number of states).

I also certainly pray that the news reports are incorrect when they refer to the family breaking the news about your brother's death over and over to your mom. This just seems cruel, even if her emotional torture only lasts so long as it takes her to forget this news, given her short-term memory problems -- rather, I would think it would be better to say that he will visit tomorrow. Yes?

What Walmart is doing is reprehensible, but I also want to know why it is that your attorney didn't bother to address this before agreeing to settle the case with the trucking company's insurer. Letting it go with Walmart saying "okay" in response to news of the settlement is just plain crazy, as is assuming Walmart wouldn't come after its money. In fact, before the attorney ever agreed to settle, he should have addressed the subrogation issue formally with the health plan, seeking agreement on the part of medical care providers as to reductions in amounts owed, etc., etc. This was a grievous breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the attorney, whatever benevolent feelings your family still has for this person. I hope he's been handling all these appeals for free, if in fact he's been the one handling them.

The trucking company being small, by the way, is not reason not to have gone after it in full vs. settling. I presume the attorney addressed the legal issue of whether it could pierce the corporate veil and go after any assets of principal owners. What upsets me is the fact that having *many* times that $1 million policy coverage limit wouldn't have cost the goobers much more (perhaps they were under the gross misimpression, without even asking about premiums, that it would have cost 5x as much for a $5 million policy). Yeesh.

Mary F. (0)
Tuesday April 1, 2008, 4:09 pm
I'm sad about your brother's college funding issues, but that's a problem shared by tens of millions of people all around the country and really neither here nor there in the scheme of your mom's story. Parents aren't obligated to put their kids through college (except, oddly enough, the issue can be raised and court ordered in the event of divorce in a number of states).

I also certainly pray that the news reports are incorrect when they refer to the family breaking the news about your brother's death over and over to your mom. This just seems cruel, even if her emotional torture only lasts so long as it takes her to forget this news, given her short-term memory problems -- rather, I would think it would be better to say that he will visit tomorrow. Yes?

What Walmart is doing is reprehensible, but I also want to know why it is that your attorney didn't bother to address this before agreeing to settle the case with the trucking company's insurer. Letting it go with Walmart saying "okay" in response to news of the settlement is just plain crazy, as is assuming Walmart wouldn't come after its money. In fact, before the attorney ever agreed to settle, he should have addressed the subrogation issue formally with the health plan, seeking agreement on the part of medical care providers as to reductions in amounts owed, etc., etc. This was a grievous breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the attorney, whatever benevolent feelings your family still has for this person. I hope he's been handling all these appeals for free, if in fact he's been the one handling them.

The trucking company being small, by the way, is not reason not to have gone after it in full vs. settling. I presume the attorney addressed the legal issue of whether it could pierce the corporate veil and go after any assets of principal owners. What upsets me is the fact that having *many* times that $1 million policy coverage limit wouldn't have cost the goobers much more (perhaps they were under the gross misimpression, without even asking about premiums, that it would have cost 5x as much for a $5 million policy). Yeesh.

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