Dolgencorp, LLC v. GilliamAnnotate this Case
Dolgencorp, LLC, appealed a judgment entered on a jury verdict in favor of Deborah Gilliam. In March 2016, Daisy Pearl White Freeman was operating her vehicle in the parking lot of the Northwood Shopping Center. Freeman lost control of the vehicle, ran over a six-inch curb, crossed a sidewalk, and crashed through the storefront of a Dollar General store, striking Gilliam -- a customer of the store. Gilliam sustained serious and permanent injuries. According to an Alabama Uniform Traffic Crash Report, Freeman reported that, immediately before the accident, she had been traveling across the shopping center parking lot when the vehicle's steering wheel began to shake, the vehicle jerked to the left, and the vehicle's brakes failed. The traffic report also indicated that witnesses had observed Freeman's vehicle traveling across the parking lot at a "high rate of speed." The traffic report listed the speed limit in the parking lot at 15 miles per hour; it was estimated that Freeman's vehicle had been traveling approximately 33-34 miles per hour when it collided with the storefront. Gilliam filed suit against, among others, Dolgencorp, which owned the Dollar General store, alleging that Dolgencorp had been negligent and wanton in failing to erect barriers such as bollards outside the store's entrance, which, she claimed, could have prevented Freeman's vehicle from crashing into the storefront and injuring her. Dolgencorp moved for a summary judgment, arguing, among other things, that Gilliam's claims were precluded as a matter of law. The Alabama Supreme Court concurred with the company, finding Gilliam's negligence claim failed as a matter of law. It therefore reversed the trial court's judgment and rendered judgment in favor of Dolgencorp.