Holly Averyt, a truck driver who slipped and fell on ice and grease while making a delivery to a Wal-Mart store in northern Colorado can collect a nearly $10 million award after the state Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict in the case on Monday.
Holly Averyt, 41, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, had to undergo three spine surgeries and was unable to return to work and lost her truck.
The woman lawyers presented city documents during the original trial that showed some grease from the Wal-Mart store’s deli didn’t get trapped in a device designed to keep it from getting into the sewer.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., told jurors there had been no grease spill at the store in Greeley.
A jury awarded $15 million to Holly Averyt in November 2010: $5.5 million for non-economic losses, $4.5 million for economic losses and $5 million for physical impairment.
Wal-Mart appealed and a lower court granted the company a new trial, saying the award was “excessive, not supported by the evidence and could only be the result of prejudice and bias and the jury’s desire to punish Wal-Mart.”
Wal-Mart had also said in its appeal that Holly Averyt’s attorneys failed to disclose the city documents.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday threw out the order for a new trial, saying Holly Averyt’s attorneys had no requirement to disclose a document that could be easily found in public records.
The court also said any prejudice the jury may have harbored toward Wal-Mart was due to its initial refusal to produce evidence or admit the existence of the grease spill.
Justices reduced the award amount by about $5 million because of a state cap on non-economic damages.
Holly Averyt attorney Bob Miller said “justice was done” with Monday’s ruling.
Attorneys for Wal-Mart and a company spokesman didn’t return a call and email seeking comment.