A man from Winslow, New Jersey, is suing Wal-Mart $1 million for the trauma he suffered after an announcement over the supermarket intercom system in Washington Township, that said: "Attention, Wal-Mart customers. All black people must leave the store."
Daily Mail reports that according to the African-American Donnell Battie, in a lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court in Camden, Wal-Mart was negligent, careless, reckless and showed deliberate indifference in not controlling access to the public address system. The Washington Post reports Battie said the incident caused him "severe and disabling emotional and psychological harm."
MSNBC reports the incident happened on March 14, 2010, in the community of Turnersville in Washington Township, N.J., shortly before 5 p.m., and the suit was first filed in Camden County Superior Court in March before it was moved to U.S District Court in Camden.
Although the manager of the store quickly apologized for the remark, the police arrived and arrested a 16-year-old on charges of harassment and bias intimidation.
According to MSNBC, Battie said since March 14, 2010, he has been suffering depression, anxiety, anger, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, paranoia and anti-social tendencies. Battie's lawyer, John Klamo, who explained that Battie had been seeking professional help in the past for various other incidents that caused him social distress, said: "Mr Battie is an individual who has been under care of a doctor for various disabilities dealing with his psychological makeup. He's in Wal-Mart and something of this nature presents its ugly head and brings up past situations in his life that affected him."
Daily Mail reports that according to the lawsuit, Battie "has required medical care and expenses which will continue to accrue in the future."
MSNBC reports Gross Rossiter, spokesman for Wal-Mart, said: "We were appalled by this incident and are amazed that anyone could be so backward and mean-spirited in this day and age. We are sorry it happened and apologized at the time to any of our customers and associates who heard it. We updated our intercom system in this store to prevent this from happening in the future."
Daily Mail reports that Wal-Mart attorneys have said that liability against the store cannot be conclusively established and that Battie's previous medical history and condition are relevant.