Wal-Mart Sticks it to Iraq War KIA's Brain-Damaged Mother
- What a godawful story -- like something straight out of
Charles Dickens... as retold by Franz Kafka. How did
Michael Moore miss *this* one?? (Actually, Sicko was
already completed by the time this first hit the news in
a big way last year.) Last week the story was picked up
by CNN (see below) & Keith Olbermeyer, among others.
No surprise that WalmartWatch has been running a
major campaign around this case (see below for more).
For my money, the best piece I've seen was this column,
published in the possibly legendary Niagara Falls Reporter.
A word of warning though: Be sure you're in a safe place
with no hot beverages when you're reading this. Seriously --
if you don't bounce off the ceiling (or collapse on the floor,
as the case may be) you may not have a pulse.
April 1 2008
By Mike Hudson
I've long detested Wal-Mart. More than any other institution... <snip>
Anybody who wants a detailed straight-news account can check out:
Accident Victims Face Grab for Legal Winnings
Wal-Mart Paid Bills For Mrs. Shank, Then Sued for Money Back
Wall Street Journal | November 20, 2007
WalmartWatch.com is a campaign of Five Stones and
The Center for Community and Corporate Ethics
Petition campaign & video of CNN report:
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008
We received this note from Debbie Shanks son, Christopher. He writes to address
some of the issues surrounding the case, and explain just how deeply Wal-Marts
actions have impacted his family.
First of all, let it be known that Im Debbie Shanks son, and not some random
dude putting in his two cents. That being said, heres the skinny
When we sued the trucking company, our lawyer told us that the only amount we
could get off of the trucking company was what the truck was insured for...
namely, a million dollars. As they were a small trucking company, they had no
real net worth, and the amount we could sue them for was just for their
When we received the settlement of 1 million, a third of that was paid out to the
lawyers. After that, my dad was given a portion of that to make up for lost
wages. We told Wal-Mart about all of this, and they basically said Okay. and
did nothing. We set up the rest, 417K, to take care of mom. We took care of her
for three years on that, but when the statute of limitations was set to expire on
Wal-Mart suing us, they literally had days left, they filed to sue us. Our lawyer
told us at the time that they were only doing this to keep their options open,
but Wal-Mart decided that they wanted to go after the settlement, as they say
time and time again, out of fairness for everyone in the medical plan.
And so it went. The first ruling came August 31, 2006. At the time it was the
worst thing that had happened. Six days later, my brother was killed. Dad said
Fine. Whatever. They won. We were without any will to keep going. Our lawyers
said Well appeal. You just dont worry about things. Well take care of all of
Appeal after appeal, Wal-Mart won them all. We finally appealed to the Supreme
Court. Last week, they said they werent going to take our case. We lost. Now,
Wal-Mart cant take any more money than we had in the trust fund, so they get
that. But, we still have 150K in outstanding medical bills. We have a fund set up
that has accepted donations, but it quickly depletes due to bills. Even with
government assistance, we still must pay anywhere from 500-1000 per month to keep
mom in the nursing home, and thats not counting bills she has from trips to the
hospital (a couple weeks ago she was bleeding internally) . The outstanding bills
we have, they can sue my father directly, so its looking like he may have to
sell his home at least. My youngest brother, if he wants to have the money to go
to college, will himself either have to take out thousands in loans or join the
Dad has worked all his life, was set to retire in 5 years, but now its looking
as if hell have to work longer and longer. Plus he has cancer to worry about.
So, thats the story. I have a feeling that somewhere along the lines, be it by
Wal-Mart, the courts, the lawyers, the trucking company, or a combination of all,
weve been taken advantage of. We could only sue for so much, we had to pay the
lawyers, the courts decided to maintain the status quo, and Wal-Mart sold its
Whoevers fault it is, were screwed. Plain and simple.
And lastly: Yet another good reason why we need SINGLE PAYER:
a scathing analytical response to the WSJ article posted by a reader
on the WalmartWatch.com website:
Subrogation is not health insurance. It is a concealed alteration (subsitution,
transference, displacement) of your legal rights under the color of health care.
You have assigned your legal right of recovery and damages unsuspectingly to non
health care providers.
The policy acted only as a loan product ultimately for legal recovery for
WalMart for which Shank paid an interest rate premium to use. When not used,
health care insurance premiums are not refunded to the policy holders under a
risk versus claim dollar calculation and estimate of payouts and profit system.
This is the basic method of insurance companies making a profit from policy
premiums. Collectively the premiums are pooled together (and invested) for the
asset base to payout claims on health care expenditures. This is not what WalMart
wants to do. In the Shanks case the premium was ultimately taken as profit only
for the issuer (WalMart) without the intent of health care at all but rather the
seizure of a legal right through subrogation producing additional profits
beyond the premium collections themselves and the asset base for health care
payouts. You will note that the health care policy that WalMart suckered Shank
into buying does not cover her health care costs now and that policy does not now
even exist for her health care. She paid her premiums on a health care insurance
policy from WalMart. Now WalMart has dumped her onto the state for her health
Recovery of health care cost from a health insurance policy payout is beyound
the scope of the advertised claim of health care insurance. Financial recovery
for the issuer and subrogation remains only as a concealed legal concept. It is
not about health care, medical practice, medications or doctor visits and
hospitalization etc. Nobody would buy this health insurance loan product if
they knew and understood the reality of the scam. Therefore the concealment and
defrauding of the Shanks and the subsequent embarrassment from and for the love
of money psychopaths at WalMart HQ in Bentonville.
[==> If you're not part of the solution... you're part of the problem <==]