May 5, 2009 11:14

This story gives one pause. Or paws for that matter, webbed paws.

Abbeville attorney Anthony Fontana has taken up the cause of a woman who is suing Wal-Mart — not unusual; there have been lots of instances where Wal-Mart has been the defendant in a lawsuit. However, in this case, the woman claims she was terrorized by a wild animal running amok in Wal-Mart. In a personal injury suit filed against the discount giant, Abbeville resident Rebecca White claims she panicked and injured herself with her shopping cart.

No, it wasn’t a rogue iguana from the pet section, or a loose mouse. It wasn’t even an alligator which wandered into the store, a sometimes occurrence in south Louisiana. White says she had a run in with the resident nutria who lives somewhere near the Coke rack in the store. Wal-Mart employees tried to comfort White, telling her she had an “encounter with Norman.”

No dice. According to the Abbeville Meridional, White is suing Wal-Mart for negligence on the grounds that the store and its employees did not:

• Warn her of the nutria prior to her entering the store
• Did not take steps to protect her from the nutria
• Did not warn her that she was shopping at her own risk
because there is a wild animal loose in the store
• Did not attempt to capture the nutria

As a result of the above, White suffered, according to the suit:
• Pain, suffering and mental anguish.
• Fear of being bitten by a wild animal causing a panic attack.
• Painful disabling injury to her back and foot.
• Interference with her daily activities.
• Medical expenses past, present and future.

 I’m not sure what I like best about this story, the laissez-faire attitude of the Wal-Mart staff about having a live-in rodent, his name, Norman the Nutria, or the photo, provided by the Meridional, of a stuffed nutria, with the caption, “A nutria like this was seen in Wal-Mart.”