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A Costco customer was hit by a steel rod while reaching for a package of paper towels, prompting a host of medical interventions. The 62-year-old North Salem, New York resident suffered irreversible brain damage at a Brookfield Costco in 2016, and has filed a federal lawsuit against the wholesale chain for monetary damages claiming unsafe, dangerous, or defective conditions.
According to the lawsuit, Peter Aurigemma Jr. was reaching for a package of paper towels, which was stacked over seven feet high, when a 40 inch long steel pipe, three inches in diameter, fell and struck him above the left eye. Aurigemma contends that the impact left him with a concussion, nerve and muscle damage to his face and around his left eye, neurological dexterity losses in his left hand, migraines, sensitivities to noise and light, mood and behavior changes, and short-term memory lapses. The plaintiff is seeking over $75,000 in monetary damages to cover medical bills, loss of work, and pain and suffering.
Costco, as a matter of policy, does not comment on pending litigation. The company will have to face whether it failed to meet its duty of care to Aurigemma as an invited customer in a self-service environment. Specifically, Costco will have to prove that it exercised reasonable care in keeping its customer areas free of unsafe, dangerous or defective conditions. The case may turn on whether stacking paper towels over seven feet high for patrons to retrieve is reasonably safe. And, of course, it remains to be seen how that steel rod ended up presumably stacked on top of the paper towel display that Aurigemma fatefully visited.
Costco is no stranger to premises liability lawsuits. In 2017, a customer fractured an ankle in a slip-and-fall case, and was awarded over $400,000 by a Nevada jury. In a 2014 case in New York, a jury awarded one plaintiff almost $10 million after being hit by her shopping cart on an escalator, which an employee had improperly placed there for her.
If you or someone you love has been injured while shopping at Costco, or any retailer, contact a local personal injury attorney. An experienced legal adviser can listen to the facts of your case, and determine if you have a good case for recovering monetary damages to recover your costs. Often, these attorneys will give you a free consultation, and you may even be able to avoid paying legal fees at all if you don't prevail. You may not have much time remaining to file your lawsuit, depending on when the injury happened, so don't hesitate. Contact an attorney today.
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