Wal-Mart Sues Brain-Damaged Former Employee

April Fools!

I wish I were kidding about this, but sadly, I'm not. Talk about bad luck and shitty corporate policy.

Former Wal-Mart employee, Debbie Shank, suffered severe brain damage in a traffic accident, received a big settlement from the trucking company responsible for the crash, lost it when Wal-Mart sued to recoup its expenses for her health care costs, then lost her son in Iraq.
Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

The 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral, but she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money.

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.
I should add that I probably wouldn't have heard this despicable story were it not for "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC. Here is what Keith had to say about this story:

"Contrary to general opinion, Wal-Mart is not owned by the devil. Its stockholders are not uniformly horrible people. The stores often do not destroy, and sometimes even improve communities. But you know why people think of "Wal-Mart" and "evil" in the same sentence? Because of the crap you guys do like this.

Instead of letting this one go. And maybe putting out a press release saying, "We take care of our own." Maybe you get $470,000 of good publicity? No. Now you get this.

Wal-Mart's profit last year was over $11 billion dollars, including $470,000 it got back from Mrs. Shank, who is, between the truck that hit her, and what you amoral Wal-Mart trolls did to her, she is so confused that she doesn't really understand that six days after you beat her in court, her 18-year-old son was killed fighting for this country in Iraq.