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  1. #1
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    Post WalMart and the Shanks. What's your thought?
    I might come off as a heartless SOB but I thought that it would be interesting to see what other people think?


    Facts:
    -Debbie Shank, ex-WalMart employee
    -Son died in Iraq
    -Debbie 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
    -Was an employee of WalMart and signed up for the their health plan.

    Fast Forward to after the accident:
    -Wal-Mart paid $470,000 for medical expenses.
    -Shanks sued the trucking co for the accident. Awarded $1million dollars.
    -Received $417,000 after legal fees
    -Shank’s lawyer informed WalMart of the judgment.
    -Wal-Mart later sued for the same amount. Per the insurance, the Shanks is suppose to return the $$ to insurance company. No double dipping.
    -The court ruled WalMart can only recoup what is left in the family's trust, which was about $200,000+.
    -Shanks sued and lost. Appealed and lost again.
    -Went on CNN and other cable companies picked it up. Most cable companies portrayed wal-mart as the evil capitalistic empire that is ruthless.

    Wal-Mart just backed down today and withdrew their lawsuit.

    Original Article http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/wal...tle/index.html

    Here is my 2 cents:
    Initially, I was think that those SOB WalMart is out to screw everybody, did not care about anything or anybody and kind of agree with CNN’s reporting. They have been echoing this message from the husband “"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?” and they were attacking the Wal-Mart and Walton Foundation. Yeah, it was sentimental and did touch a nerve.
    I was up this AM and watching another news channel and they brought up some good facts.
    -Wal-Mart is the 4th largest charitable foundation in the world.
    -Wal-Mart together with the Walton foundation is the second largest charitable foundation in the world.
    -Wal-Mart is not suing for themselves but the insurance company.
    -They are protecting the integrity of their contracts as it clearly states that if the Shanks won a lawsuit, they have to return the $$ back to the insurance company.


    After hearing about it from a diff perspective, I think Wal-Mart isn’t too bad in this case.
    1) They give a lot. 2nd largest charitable foundation in the world is no small feat.
    2) If CNN featured Wal-Mart as the evil heartless company, they (+insurance co) would have wormed their way out of paying $4xx k. Also, why did the lawyers take over $500k? If CNN went after WalMart, shouldn’t they portrayed the lawyers as wolves too?
    3) Did the Shanks just double dip?
    4) If Wal-Mart did not try to recover the $$, they are just setting a precedent for future cases. So I guess a contract will mean nothing if people start to complaint and CNN picks it up?
    5) Wouldn’t the Wal-Mart / insurance company pass the $417k cost to their other employees? Would the mass suffer due to just this one incident?

  2. #2
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    To me, health insurance and a civil settlement are 2 very different things. She paid for health insurance. Period. Walmart/Insurance Co received premiums from Debbie to provide health insurance. I don't see how Walmart can have any logical right to her settlement money. Good grief our legal systems blows really bad.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    To me, health insurance and a civil settlement are 2 very different things. She paid for health insurance. Period. Walmart/Insurance Co received premiums from Debbie to provide health insurance. I don't see how Walmart can have any logical right to her settlement money. Good grief our legal systems blows really bad.
    Wal Mart is not going after her settlement money.
    In most or if not all insurance, there is a clause in there saying that if you sue other parties to claim damages, etc, you cannot claim damages based on your insurance

  4. #4
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    To me, health insurance and a civil settlement are 2 very different things. She paid for health insurance. Period. Walmart/Insurance Co received premiums from Debbie to provide health insurance. I don't see how Walmart can have any logical right to her settlement money. Good grief our legal systems blows really bad.
    It is not the legal system, it is the insurance industry. Read your health insurance and auto policies (med pay coverage). Virtually every policy written in the past 20 years gives the insurance carrier the absolute right to recover every dollar the injured party receives (after litigation expense) from the party causing the injuries, up to the full amount that they paid out in medical expense.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  5. #5
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    It still sounds full of crap. So damages and medical expenses are one in the same?

    Debbie's care from the accident required $470K from her paid health insurance policy. The mere $417K settlement that she received was for her pain, suffering, and loss of a normal life that she lost and Walmart/Insurance company feels they are entitled to that?

  6. #6
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    It is not the legal system, it is the insurance industry. Read your health insurance and auto policies (med pay coverage). Virtually every policy written in the past 20 years gives the insurance carrier the absolute right to recover every dollar the injured party receives (after litigation expense) from the party causing the injuries, up to the full amount that they paid out in medical expense.
    Just because they have the right doesn't mean you take the right, especially in this situation. Makes me sick.

  7. #7
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Ewe
    Also, why did the lawyers take over $500k?
    Besides fees, this figure would also include costs of litigation (advanced by the attorneys), and any unpaid medical expense up to the time of dispursal of the funds. If Wal-mart's health insurance carrier paid out $470,000, this figure would represent them paying 10˘ to 25˘ on the dollar for usually 80% of the actual medical costs. Mrs. Shank would have been responsible for most likely 20% of what would have been $2-4,000,000.00 in medical expense, which her attorneys would have negotiated down by 90% to around $200,000, thus her net of around $400,000.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Ewe
    -Wal-Mart is the 4th largest charitable foundation in the world.
    Just curious: Is that by amount or by percentage of revenue?
    Richard Gaskin
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  9. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    It still sounds full of crap. So damages and medical expenses are one in the same?
    There are 3 types of damages in injury cases:

    1. Special damages. This is past out-of-pocket and future anticipated (according to proof) expense. This includes medical bills, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, and similar items.

    2. General damages. This is pain and suffering, and is based again on proof, not speculation. Injured parties testify as to their actual pain, limitation on normal activites, other effects on life, etc., and based on medical evidence and their life expecatany, for how long these problems can reasonably be expected to continue.

    3. Punative damages. This is a damage award available in only a small, limited number of cases, based on egregious conduct, and measured by the responsible party's assets. Seldom are punative damges available in injury cases, but when they are awarded, its makes the headlines, such as in the famous Ford Pinto case of years ago, where Ford made a conscious decision to save $9 per car to not safeguard the gas tank, knowlingly exposing drivers and passengers to serious injuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    Debbie's care from the accident required $470K from her paid health insurance policy. The mere $417K settlement that she received was for her pain, suffering, and loss of a normal life that she lost and Walmart/Insurance company feels they are entitled to that?
    Yes. This is standard operating procedure for all health insurers, as well as in auto cases, where an injured person receives medical care paid for under the medical payment provisions of their own policy. The auto carrier is entitled to reinbursement under their policy from any recovery the insured receives from the responsible party, and carriers strictly enforce this, even if they have to sue their own insureds.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  10. #10
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    WalMart shut down a store in Quebec when 190 employees wanted to unionize. "Wal-Mart said it was shuttering the store in Jonquiere, Quebec, in response to unreasonable demands from union negotiators that would make it impossible for the store to sustain itself"

    The amount they donate to charity (which, to their credit, is sizable, but also a tax deduction, don't forget!) has nothing to do with the way they treat their employees...

    While they appear perfectly within their rights to reclaim the insurance settlement, I think it's a case of a big company doing the wrong thing, image-wise..

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    I still have no clue why Wal-Mart fought this so hard... From a purely business standpoint, there's a tradeoff between giving up a fight early on, eating the $417,000 they would've been repaid, and not getting bad press. Was it really worth all of the negative press (for a company that needs no more negative press) over a few hundred thousand dollars (not to mention all of Wal-Mart's legal fees)?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    I still have no clue why Wal-Mart fought this so hard... From a purely business standpoint, there's a tradeoff between giving up a fight early on, eating the $417,000 they would've been repaid, and not getting bad press. Was it really worth all of the negative press (for a company that needs no more negative press) over a few hundred thousand dollars (not to mention all of Wal-Mart's legal fees)?
    Most likely WalMart will have a legal team and they are on retainer, not much additional fees.

    I think it's more about principles.
    Contract in place and everybody is walking all over it and with some negative reporting, they become the soul villant.

    $417k, who is going to bear the brunt of it? It's the employees and society. I.e. Hurricane in FL, insurance company pass it in next year's premiums.

    You do not want to set a preceedent and also say, a contract ain't worth anything.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Ewe
    You do not want to set a preceedent and also say, a contract ain't worth anything.
    Well, now instead of making one exception that nobody hears about, they've said that they're modifying their contract to allow them to contractually give leeway in situations where they deem appropriate...

  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Well, now instead of making one exception that nobody hears about, they've said that they're modifying their contract to allow them to contractually give leeway in situations where they deem appropriate...
    Well, at this point, what's done is done. While I would never consider myself a WalMart apologist, I think they should have had a reasonable BUSINESS expectation that CNN wouldn't go to bat for a woman who was wrong per accepted practice.

    Regardless of how you feel about the particulars of this case, I think this whole situation has bad ramifications for any business owner. She signed the insurance paperwork. Maybe she didn't read it. But I don't read car rental agreements either. I sign them. And as such, I'm bound by the terms I signed for.

    For me to run to CNN because I don't like the outcome is ludicrous, but apparently very effective. That's a danger to all of us.
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  15. #15
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    Regardless of how you feel about the particulars of this case, I think this whole situation has bad ramifications for any business owner. She signed the insurance paperwork. Maybe she didn't read it. But I don't read car rental agreements either. I sign them. And as such, I'm bound by the terms I signed for.
    It's not as if she had a choice. If she wanted health coverage, she had to accept the indemnification clause. As I said in an earlier post, that is standard in virtually all health insurance policies.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  16. #16
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    I think the Shanks' should be entitled to a full refund of their health insurance premiums. They ended up paying the whole bill anyway.

    This paragraph from the article is quite sad.

    Mr. Shank says that he obtained a divorce from Mrs. Shank this year, partly because of advice from a health-care administrator that she might be more eligible for public aid as a single woman. Mrs. Shank, who has been declared incompetent by a court, hasn't been informed of the divorce by her family.

  17. #17
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    I think the Shanks' should be entitled to a full refund of their health insurance premiums. They ended up paying the whole bill anyway.

    This paragraph from the article is quite sad.

    Mr. Shank says that he obtained a divorce from Mrs. Shank this year, partly because of advice from a health-care administrator that she might be more eligible for public aid as a single woman. Mrs. Shank, who has been declared incompetent by a court, hasn't been informed of the divorce by her family.
    What's even more sad is her hearing every day for the first time that her son was killed in Iraq.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

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