Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wal-Mart and Debbie Shank: Tragedy, Horror

Oh yeah, and Wal-Mart is the fucking Devil. Have your heard the story of Debbie Shank?

Debbie Shank via CNN
Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

Even though the 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral -- she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead -- she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses, but in 2005, Wal-Mart's health plan sued the Shanks for the same amount.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money. Video Watch this couple's story »

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.

"They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.
No, that doesn't really need any further commentary.


Anonymous said...

Just awful. As if Wal-Mart wasn't fucking bad enough. Those goddammed soul-sucking dignity-raping assholes.

Ricky Shambles said...

...and if you read further into CNN article: "Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills."

The sad thing is that no matter how amazingly horrible the press is, no matter how popular the story, the zombies will still flock in droves for Everyday Low Prices, to suckle at the teat of the Yellow Smiley God, then go home and bitch that nothing's made in America anymore.

Thank you for being part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

Why is Wal-mart the villian? Three months after their employee enrolled in the health insurance they provide a semi-truck hits her and when she recovers a million $ they ask to be repaid their expenses. Ms Shank's accident is unfortunate but not Wal-marts fault. I haven't read anywhere if she recovered funds from her auto insurance...only that she can no longer afford a full time nurse and may have to move to a semi-private room.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if WalMart had UNIONS to PROTECT their employees this could have been prevented under threat of a strike - well there is no way WalMart can bury this story and almost in the clutches of the mainstream media (thank you CNN for doing your duty) Although legally correct (fine print in a well written health contract geared to rip off victims) this is completely immoral and wrong. Any citizen of the United States that continues to shop there is saying that this behavior from a company to its employee, from one human being to another, ESPECIALLY UNDEr THESE CIRCUMSTANCES is reprehensible and unforgivable. This unltimately will cost WalMart millions - hold off donations to Shank until it is LEGALLY verified that WalMart doesn't have a claim to charitable donations to employees they crap on. WalMart employees - if you cant quit immediately - give SERIOUS consideration to protecting yourselves by UNIONIZING - it is THIS VERY BEHAVIOUR that you are PROTECTED from.
From our family here, all our prayers to the Shank Family and our sincerst condolences on your loss - our families donations will be on the way once verified that the WALMART MONSTERS CANT LAY CLAIM TO IT.

The Warren Family

Ricky Shambles said...

After my last comment, anonymous 1 was addressed in a follow-up post and is either a shill or part of the Wal-Mart PR army attempting to diffuse the issue.

anonymous 2: I completely agree; unfortunately, Wal-Mart has a solid record of firing and/or intimidating those who speak out or try to form a union, and has actually closed whole stores when their employees achieved unionization.

Foul, grotesque, and true. So large, even unions are ineffective. And the worst part is that the only way for us to win is to not shop there. I can afford not to and haven't been for over a year, but many can't and even more simply don't care.

Every time I pass a Wal-Mart, I feel like the good doctor in the Twilight Zone episode "To Server Man" screaming "It's a cookbook! It's a cookbook!" and the blind, complacent masses Baahh! file in, file in.

Suggestions welcome for (legal suggestions on) how we can fight this.