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Louisiana woman sues Wal-Mart over incident with Norman the nutria

Nutria Wal-Mart shopper Rebecca White was less than amused by the presence of a large rodent in the ubiquitous chain store's Abbeville, La., store. 

White was so nonplussed, in fact, that she filed suit against the corporate monolith over an injury she says she incurred as a result of the animal, a nutria.  (That's a nutria at right, although not the one cited by White in her lawsuit.)  From the Associated Press:

According to the lawsuit, [White] had a full shopping cart when "suddenly and without warning a large wild nutria came from behind the Coke rack and ran straight towards" her on Oct. 11.

Fearing for her safety, she "pulled her shopping cart towards her to protect her from the large vicious looking rat," the suit continued.

The cart ran over her left foot, breaking two bones, the Whites' lawyer, Anthony Fontana, said Thursday. He said she underwent surgery in late February for broken bones and damaged nerves.

Wal-Mart workers "came running" in October but made light of the incident, "telling petitioner that they could see that she had an encounter with 'Norman,' a name the employees had given to the rat," the lawsuit alleged.

Nutrias, also called coypu, are semiaquatic rodents that resemble either large rats or small beavers, depending on your point of view.  (In the Netherlands they're called beverrat -- literally, "beaver rat.")  Nutrias are native to South America but were introduced elsewhere as a result of the fur trade.  They can grow to weigh about 20 pounds.

A representative at Wal-Mart's corporate office told the AP that the company was not aware of the nutria lawsuit but was investigating.  White's lawsuit asks for compensation for "pain, suffering, mental anguish, fear, disabling injuries and medical expenses." Fontana says his client suffers from panic attacks and had to be taken to a hospital in an ambulance when she passed out as a result of the incident.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: David Rae Morris / FTT

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

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"pain, suffering, mental anguish, fear, disabling injuries and medical expenses"? I don't know... seems like a lot to pile on the shoulders of one little nutria. I can see medical expenses. But mental anguish? Come on... she lives in La. and has never seen a nutria??? What about Norman's mental anguish and fear? I'm sure she scared him more the he scared her!!! I hope they can trap and release Norman rather than calling out an exterminator.

That's a "no go" on the "bit" about pulling the shopping cart TOWARD her in order to protect herself.
TRUE fear would have caused a quite opposite reaction.
Anyone else, truly afraid, would have PUSHED the cart toward the perceived "danger" and run away in the opposite direction.
Why don't people want to work for a living anymore?

This country has become far too sue happy. She reacted badly and ran over her OWN foot!

Just another case of someone trying to get rich by suing instead of working for their money.

Mental anquish? Pain and suffering? Disabling injuries? Fear? Give me a break!

I LIVE IN LA I'VE NEVER SEEN A NUTRIA AND AM TERRIFIED OF RODENTS OF ANY SIZE I WOULD HAVE HAD THE SAME REACTION! SUE THE PANTS OFF THEM

I am from Abbeville, LA but now live in Austin, TX.

The people in Abbeville are by far more sue happy than anywhere else that I have lived. Friends there will often try to sue friends. If you are from there you have seen a nutria more than once running wild in the ditches of even urban enviornments such as a Blockbuster. And I have never heard of nor seen them attacking anyone. The park of a nearby town has hundreds of them (litterally) docily roaming around on hike paths and where children play.

If people are not stealing from Walmart in Abbeville then apparently they are going to sue Walmart on the chance that a rodent ran into the store while the automatic doors were opened. Get real.


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