Carla Denise Garrison‘s lawsuit against Target over a needle that stuck her palm has made her a multimillionaire. Last week, a jury in South Carolina awarded about $4.6 million to Garrison, who started the process hoping to get $12,000. Mrs. Garrison, who was overcome with emotion after the decision, was unable to comment on the case.
According to court documents, in May of 2014, Garrison and her then 8-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, drove to a Target store located in Anderson. While in the parking lot, the little girl spotted a needle on the ground and picked it up.
The mother panicked and rapidly swatted the needle out of Kayleigh’s hand. The move led to Garrison getting stuck in her right palm by the needle. Court documents showed that Garrison rushed to the store and reported the injury to a Target employee.
The person made an incident report where he noted that Garrison seemed worried about the injury caused by the needle. Documents showed:
“Garrison was treated at AnMed Health, where she was tested for HIV and hepatitis. She was also prescribed medication because of the potential risk that she would contract HIV. She has tested negative for both HIV and hepatitis thus far.”
The HIV drugs caused Garrison to fall ill and to be bedridden for a period. Carla Denise Garrison’s husband, Clint Garrison, had to take time off work to care for her, according to Joshua Hawkins, her attorney.
Before heading to court, Hawkins asked Target to settle for $12,000, but the company declined thinking that a jury would side with them. They were wrong, a jury awarded Garrison $4.6 million, making it one of the largest amounts awarded in the history of Anderson County litigation, according to Clerk of Court Richard Shirley. Garrison’s attorney said:
“When we started this, we were just trying to get Target to make my client whole, to pay for her medical bills and the time that her husband had to take off work. We tried to be reasonable and not take this to trial. But Target took a really hard stance on it … and I think the jury sent a message.”
Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels said the company will appeal. She said:
“The final damages award has not yet been determined by the Court.Target is currently considering post-trial motions and appeal options.”
Some experts are wondering if the notion of personal responsibility should have played a bigger role in the decision.