Santa Clara, CA: Walmart is facing a class action lawsuit brought by customers who allege the big-box retailers is negligent in its instore assembly of bicycles, a free service offered at all Walmart stores where bikes are sold.
Filed in Florida federal court by plaintiff Boyd Johnson, the suit claims that Johnson purchased a semi-assembled Roadmaster Granite Peak bicycle from a Wal-Mart in Pompano Beach, Florida. He had the bike assembled completely by store employees upon purchase. However, shortly after bringing the bike home and taking it for a ride the handle bars allegedly slid down due to an improperly installed bolt, causing him to lose control and fall to the pavement, injuring his face, shoulder and right side of his body.
Walmart began using its own employees to assemble bikes in 2014. Prior to that, the company had used third party vendors to do full assembly of the bikes. Walmart employees also assemble patio furniture and other products in-store, according to the complaint.
The employees that now carry out the bike assembly received “inadequate training,” according to complaint, and carry out the assembly of a bike with no assembly checklist, which are “crucial to maintaining safety standards” and readily available.
“Walmart has already been sued on the subject of improper bike assembly, yet injuries are still occurring due to the continuance of careless and sloppy in-house assembly of their bikes,” the lawsuit states. “The public should expect Walmart’s bike assemblers to be trained in bike assembly and require inspections before placing the bikes in the stream of commerce.”
According to the complaint, Wal-Mart’s bike assemblers are allegedly not properly trained or certified, which has led to the “negligent and reckless bike assembly procedures” that ultimately injured Johnson and likely other consumers, the suit states.The retailer could have provided that training and certification for less than $30 per employee.
Further, the complaint states that the Walmart bike assemblers are under such “pressure to assemble bikes as fast as they can” in order to meet customer demands that they can’t conduct inspections of the bicycles they assemble before handing them off to customers.
“They do not have time to properly inspect the bikes after assembly and fail to inspect even the most basic safety features, such as making sure that bolts are properly tightened or that brakes and tires are properly installed,” the complaint states.
The suit claims negligence and breach of warranties and is seeking certification of a class of Florida and national consumers who purchased a bike from Wal-Mart that was improperly assembled. The suit also asks that Walmart be enjoined from continuing its allegedly negligent practices among other things.
Johnson is represented by Yechezkel Rodal of Rodal Law PA. The case is Johnson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., number 0:17-cv-60116, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.