Wal-Mart to pay $2m in fatal trampling
MINEOLA, N.Y. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to pay nearly $2 million and improve safety at its 92 New York stores as part of a deal with prosecutors that avoids criminal charges in the trampling death of a temporary worker last year.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said yesterday that if she had brought criminal charges against the retailer in the worker's death, the company would have been subject only to a $10,000 fine if convicted. Rice declined to say what charges were considered, citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.
Instead, she said, the company has agreed to implement an improved crowd-management plan for post-Thanksgiving Day sales, set up a $400,000 victims' compensation and remuneration fund, and give $1.5 million to Nassau County social services programs and nonprofit groups.
The agreement included no admission of guilt by Wal-Mart.
"Rather than bringing the world's largest retailer to court and imposing a small fine against them, I felt it was important to require significant safety changes that will affect the whole state," Rice said. "Our goal is for the protocols that are set up to be the gold standard for crowd management in this industry."
Details of Wal-Mart's crowd-management plan for its New York stores have yet to be worked out. The retailer will work with two independent safety specialists on the plan, who will review it over the next three years. The prosecutor said her office will oversee compliance with the recommendations.