Wal-Mart Negotiation Analysis

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Distributive Article:Wal-Mart Injury Lawsuit
Although it was several years ago now, in 1988 a 24-year old man was injured at his local Wal-Mart store after tripping over several rocking chairs. The man claims that as he turned the corner of an aisle he tripped over three 1.5 foot-high children’s rocking chairs, which caused several injuries, some of which were lacerated forehead, several strains and sprains, a jaw injury and even blackout spells (Laska, 2000). This example of a negotiation lawsuit would classify as a distributive negotiation because of several different reasons. First, the only item of value being discussed is settlement money, and in order for the negotiation to be considered an integrative negotiation, the opposing parties typically have additional items of value to discuss for trade. Also, there is no personal relationship between the opposing sides of the negotiation, which in this particular case are the Wal-Mart Corporation and the injured man. Finally, a distributive negotiation is considered to be a win-lose scenario and clearly, either the man or the Wal-Mart Corporation would win the negotiation. Originally, the injured man sued the company for $100,033.57, and although the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in his favor, the amount was lowered. The jury determined that although his injuries were worth compensation, $73,525.18 was considered a more appropriate sum. In addition, the plaintiff’s wife was awarded $10,000 for loss of consortium.

Even though some people may feel as though an injury due to tripping over a child’s toy is a case that does not hold much water, fortunately for the injured man his case was fairly cut and dry. The store could have prevented the injury if the rocking chairs were properly displayed. Therefore the store was responsible and held liable. This type of negotiation is intended for the benefit of one party and is typically settled out of court because companies try to avoid court appearance...
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