Tuesday, April 01, 2008

WalMart And The Shanks, There's Two Sides To Every Story

This morning we heard that WalMart responded to Keith Olbermann's reporting about the Shank family. They said it wasn't their fault and the health insurance company was entitled to the money...and that they only recovered $277,000 and that the law was on their side because the Supreme Court declined to hear the Shank family's lawyers appeal (shocking I know). Well now that WalMart got their statement in, I'd like you to read what its like inside the Shank family.

From Christopher Shank (via WalMart Watch):

First of all, let it be known that I’m Debbie Shank’s son, and not some random dude putting in his two cents. That being said, here’s 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 insurance.

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 “We’ll appeal. You just don’t worry about things. We’ll take care of all of it.”

Appeal after appeal, Wal-Mart won them all. We finally appealed to the Supreme Court. Last week, they said they weren’t going to take our case. We lost. Now, Wal-Mart can’t 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 that’s 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 it’s 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 military.

Dad has worked all his life, was set to retire in 5 years, but now it’s looking as if he’ll have to work longer and longer. Plus he has cancer to worry about.

So, that’s 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, we’ve 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 it’s soul.

Whoever’s fault it is, we’re screwed. Plain and simple.

If WalMart thinks that this family's ordeal is fair, then this takes my feelings for WalMart to a whole other level. With the billions that they make every year to the outstanding wealth of the Walton family, they should be paying for Debbie Shank's bills with no questions asked. Instead they are suing the family for everything they've got.

How f**king disgusting is that?