Get Our Email Newsletter

Retailer Must Give Security, Crime Data to Mass Shooting Victims

Walmart Inc. failed to convince a Texas appeals court that a judge exceeded his authority when he ordered the retailer to turn over a a slew of discovery-related documents in a civil action brought against it by victims, or their families, of a mass shooting in El Paso in 2019.

Patrick Wood Crusius has been charged with opening fire on patrons in and around the Texas store, killing 22 and injuring many more. A civil suit was filed in state court, alleging the retailer should be held liable for negligence including in failing to secure its premises in light of other shootings and crimes.

Included among the allegations is that Walmart rates its stores based on their crime potential yet allocates resources disproportionately toward its outlets in more affluent, less crime-prone areas.

LP Solutions

As part of that case, the lower court ordered Walmart to disclose numerous documents including those related to an incident in Amarillo where two Walmart employees were taken hostage in 2016, third-party security reports, and store security budgets in El Paso and San Antonio, among other topics. Corporate minutes related to a meeting where security was discussed was also ordered to be produced.

Walmart filed a writ of mandamus saying Judge Sergio Enriquez erred by ordering the disclosure of these and other documents, but that writ was mostly rejected by an appeals court March 26.

The Texas Appeals Court for the Eighth District held that the trial court was within his authority to order the information released, including on the store security budgets, and even Black Friday security information and transaction counts.

- Digital Partner -

The appeals court did, however, find that the trial court overreached by ordering production of crime-driven policy changes made at Texas stores and some third-party information held by the retailer. But the appeals court left the door open for the plaintiffs to refile a more narrowly scoped discovery request.

The order on third-party reports, which included documents from National Retail Federation’s Active Shooter Guidelines, was also found to be overly broad. The appeals court conditionally granted Walmart’s requested relief as to these reports, but did so without prejudice to the trial court limiting the order as to time and scope.

In addition to the El Paso shooting, a gunman shot and killed three Walmart shoppers in 2017 in Thornton, Colorado. And, three days before Crusius allegedly opened fire, another armed man killed two people and injured another in a Walmart store in Southaven, Mississippi.

- Digital Partner -

Walmart is represented by Alexander Dubose Jefferson LLP.

Justice Jeff Alley wrote the opinion. Chief Justice Yvonne T. Rodriguez and Justice Gina M. Palafox joined in the decision.

The case is In Re: Walmart Inc. and Walmart Stores Texas LLC, Tex. App., No. 08-20-00191-CV, 3/26/21…    Bloomberg Law

Loss Prevention Magazine updates delivered to your inbox

Get the free daily newsletter read by thousands of loss prevention professionals, security, and retail management from the store level to the c-suite.

What's New

Digital Partners

Become a Digital Partner

Violence in the Workplace

Download this 34-page special report from Loss Prevention Magazine about types and frequency of violent incidents, impacts on employees and customers, effectiveness of tools and training, and much more.

Webinars

View All | Sponsor a Webinar

Whitepapers

View All | Submit a Whitepaper

LP Solutions

View All | Submit Your Content

Loss Prevention Media Logo

Stay up-to-date with our free email newsletter

The trusted newsletter for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management. Get the latest news, best practices, technology updates, management tips, career opportunities and more.

No, thank you.

View our privacy policy.