$240K for Plaintiff, But Marriage Not Worth a Dime, Says Jury

Posted by msch on Jul 8, 2011 3:31:00 PM

Hinton v. Costco (Las Vegas, Nevada)Costco parking lot shopping cart injury trial

For residents of Las Vegas, a city known for 24-hour drive through wedding chapels (with complimentary boutonniere!), unhappy couples going their separate ways is just a fact of life. 

At least that's what a jury told Rachelle Hinton, who blamed Costco Wholesale Corporation for her husband's couch potato habits and grouchy demeanor after he suffered a wrist injury in a Costco parking lot in 2007. Rachelle Hinton was a co-plaintiff with her husband in their lawsuit against the bulk purchase retailer, despite their divorce due to be finalized later this summer. She blamed Costco for her husband's depression after the accident, but the jury awarded her no damages for loss of consortium. 

However despite an aggressive defense from Costco attorney Sharon Nelson, who characterized Brandon Hinton as a serial litigator who was driving under the influence of the sedative Klonopin at the time of the accident, the jury still ordered Costco to pay Hinton $240,000 for past medical expenses and future pain and suffering. The award was reduced from $400,000, after the jury also found Brandon Hinton himself was 40% responsible for the accident.  

Hinton suffered a wrist injury in 2007 when he reached out from his driver's side window to block shopping carts from hitting his truck in a Costco parking lot. Costco employee David Velez had been moving the carts with a "QuicKart" personal moving device. 

During testimony, Velez admitted he made an error in not checking for oncoming traffic before moving the carts, but Nelson repeatedly told the jury Velez had been properly trained to operate the QuicKart, and that Brandon Hinton did deserve some compensation for the incident, but not in the amount asked for the by the Hinton's attorney, Jim Crockett, and certainly not for the Hinton's decision to end their marriage. 

The jury reached their verdict after a one-week trial before Judge Valerie Adair in Clark County Circuit Court in Las Vegas where it appears to be "until compensatory damages do us part" for the Hintons, after all. 

CVN webcast the Hinton v. Costco trial live.

Topics: Negligence