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Wal-Mart's Marketing Blamed in Black Friday Death


Low prices, among other things

The relatives of a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee, killed during a Black Friday stampede at a store in Long Island, are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the big-box.

Defendants include Wal-Mart, the Green Acres Mall and the security company hired to patrol the property. Additional suits will likely be filed against Nassau County and the police department.

But it's the ads taking the worst rap. According to the suit, Wal-Mart "engaged in specific marketing and advertising techniques to specifically attract a large crowd and create an environment of frenzy and mayhem and was otherwise careless, reckless and negligent." What's more, its deep discounts sparked "an atmosphere of competition and anxiety" leading to "crowd craze."

Wal-Mart was also accused of failing to take adequate security measures to control the morning rush, which numbered in the low thousands.

Last Friday Jdimytai Damour died of asphyxiation when Wal-Mart's Black Friday shoppers rushed the doors. Because he was 6-foot-five and about 270 pounds, police believe he was situated at the store entrance to mitigate the frenzy.

"Those hundreds of people who did make their way into the store, literally had to step over or around him or unfortunately on him to get into the Wal-Mart store," Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey told the Associated Press. Mulvey also said it was clear the store lacked sufficient security to deal with a crowd that size, even though police met with retailers weeks before Thanksgiving to discuss security and crowd control measures for Black Friday.

President Hank Mullany of Wal-Mart's Northeast Division called Damour "part of the Wal-Mart family," adding, "We have been in communication with members of his family to do what we can to help them through this difficult time. Our associates know that when incidents like this occur, we take care of our own."

Damour had been an employee of Wal-Mart for about one week.

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