ANDERSON, S.C. — A shopping trip to Target turned into a lawsuit for a South Carolina family.
“It was important to them to be able to tell their story and tell what Target did to them,” Joshua Hawkins said.
Hawkins is a lawyer with J.T. Hawkins Law Firm and he represents Denise Garrison and her husband.
He said in May 2014, his client, Denise Garrison and her daughter got out of their car to shop at the Target in Anderson when Garrison’s daughter picked up a hypodermic needle in Target’s parking lot.
“She just reacted immediately to try and get the needle out of the child’s hand,” Hawkins said. “And when she did that, she was stuck in the process.”
Hawkins said Garrison went inside and told management. Their response was to go get treated and bring the bill back to them and everything would be taken care of.
However, when she presented medical bills, Target refused to pay and that’s when the Garrison family called Hawkins. He says Target is negligent and the company’s investigator didn’t do their job.
“The investigator never called or contacted- that we could find, the person in charge of monitoring cleaning and safety of Target,” he said.
According to the lawsuit, Target failed to keep its parking lot reasonably cleaned.
“They didn’t keep any cleaning records and they leave stuff on the ground for months at a time,” Garrison said.
Hawkins said his client had tests for HIV and hepatitis and her husband had to take off work to care for her because the drugs made her sick.
“She’s really overwhelmed by all of this,” Hawkins said.
Target responded to the claims and court documents show it denies the allegations and it didn’t assure Garrsion it would be responsible for medical bills.
“You always have the right to 12 of your peers to make that determination,” Hawkins said.
A jury awarded Garrsion $4,618,500. The jury awarded damages based on what it called Target’s negligence which caused injury and loss of wages to Garrison and her husband.
However, there is a $300,000 doll cap on damages under South Carolina Tort Laws.
“We’re gonna make some arguments that our state cap is unconstitutional,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins says his clients HIV and hepatitis tests came back negative. He says the awarded amount may not be the final statement he expects Target to appeal.