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Jury sides with grocery store after shopper tips heavy cart onto his leg

Jurors in St. Louis County decided that a man who broke his leg in an unusual accident with a shopping cart is not entitled to damages from the grocery store.

“One of [the jurors] told me that it was a close call but the jury decided that it was one of those things that can just happen,” said Alan Mandel of Mandel & Mandel, who represented the plaintiff.

In 2018, shopper Mark Galentine was using a small, bi-level model shopping cart at a St. Louis-area Schnucks to haul 24 bottles of vitamin water to his vehicle when the conveyance “toppled onto Plaintiff’s leg causing Plaintiff to fall and sustain serious injuries,” according to the suit.

“The theory was not that the cart was defective,” Mandel said. “The theory was that top loading these small grocery carts is a hazard that is known in the business. Schnucks should have trained their employees not to put everything in the top basket. The high center of gravity did not cause the cart to tip but made it harder to stop if it started to tip.”

Ryan Turnage, in-house counsel for grocer Schnuck Markets Inc., said that both sides introduced experts in the case. The defense expert even made a video demonstrating successful use of the type of cart in question using similar water bottles.

“The general defense was that the grocery store didn’t do anything out of the ordinary,” Turnage said.

He said there was no indication of any problem with the store’s carts or the way they were loaded by cashiers or patrons.

“Customers go in and shop all the time and buy things that are a whole lot heavier and never have any trouble with that same kind of cart,” he said.

Mandel said the matter was well-tried by all parties and he was not surprised by the outcome against his client.

“It was a tough case,” Mandel said.

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Personal injury

Venue: St. Louis County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 19SL-CC01600/Aug. 3, 2022

Judge: David Vincent III

Plaintiffs’ Experts: John Morse, New York (engineering)

Defendants’ Experts: Cliff Bigelow, St. Louis (engineering)

Last Pretrial Demand: $600,000

Last Pretrial Offer: $0

Caption: Mark Galentine v. Schnuck Markets Inc.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Alan Mandel, Mandel and Mandel, St. Louis

Defendant’s Attorney: Ryan Turnage, Schnuck Markets, St. Louis