- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) - A lawsuit against Walmart Inc. is moving forward following the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old woman at a Wisconsin store in 2016.

Chippewa County Judge James Isaacson heard arguments in the case Tuesday but didn’t decide whether to dismiss it, The Leader-Telegram reported .

Melissa Abbott lived at the Northern Wisconsin Center, a state-operated facility in Chippewa Falls for people with disabilities and mental illnesses. Abbott was shopping at the Lake Hallie Walmart in April 2016 when she began swinging a hatchet around other shoppers.

Lake Hallie Police Officer Adam Meyers shot Abbott once in the leg and once in the abdomen. She later died at a nearby hospital.

Abbott’s family filed a lawsuit last year against the village, the police department, the store, the Northern Wisconsin Center and the center’s director, alleging their negligence led to the woman’s death. Isaacson dismissed the parts in the lawsuit pertaining to the village, the police and the center in December. Center Director Jacqueline Neurohr remains a defendant in the lawsuit.

Walmart attorney Angela Brandt argued that the suit against the retailer should also be dismissed. She said it was Abbott’s actions, not the way the merchandise was displayed, that led to her death.

Walmart doesn’t have a duty, nor could they control how (Abbott) acted when confronted by a police officer,” Brandt said.

Abbott family attorney Jeff Muszynski noted that Walmart locks up guns, bullets and knives.

“They make individual choices as a store, as an entity, to secure certain items in certain ways,” Muszynski said.

Attorney Catherine Spitz, who represents Neurohr, also argued for dismissal. She said Neurohr didn’t do anything wrong by arranging the Walmart trip for center residents.

Muszynski argued that Abbott died under the center’s custodial care and that there are enough questions for the case against Neurohr to move forward.


Information from: Leader-Telegram, http://www.leadertelegram.com/

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