Injured woman
gets $1.05 million

Costco was negligent for letting
2 mattresses fall on a customer,
a Circuit Court jury finds

A Kula woman who was injured after two mattresses fell on her at the Kahului Costco was awarded $1.05 million by a Circuit Court jury on Maui yesterday.

Marela Crockett, a 58-year-old housewife, suffered spinal and shoulder injuries from the March 6, 2002, accident.

Her attorney, James Krueger, argued that Costco was negligent for failing to place steel bars or metal chains across the mattresses to prevent them from falling into the aisle.

At trial, there was testimony that Costco did not have any written policies or standards about how to safely display goods and that displays were dictated by what looks good or sells.

There was also evidence that on at least four occasions, mattresses were found in the aisle but the store never investigated how they got there, he said.

"Our whole position was it didn't make any difference how or why they fell," Krueger said. "The fact is the store had no preventive type of restraint -- a steel bar or chain going across so it couldn't come out of the shelving."

The attorney representing Costco could not be reached for comment.

Of the verdict, $800,000 was for pain and suffering and $250,000 was for medical and related expenses.

Crockett suffers from a deformed right arm, despite surgery in her shoulder, Krueger said. In addition, several levels of disks in her neck impinge on the spinal cord, causing continuous pain, he added.


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