Black Friday Lawsuits

Black Friday

Some of our readers may have recently experienced “the shopping quasi-holiday known as ‘Black Friday’,” which has been lovingly referred to in judicial opinions as Thanksgiving holiday’s “more frantic associate.”  Anjum v. J.C. Penney Co., No. 13 CV 0460 RJD RER, 2014 WL 5090018, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 9, 2014). It appears to be virtually undisputed that Black Friday is “one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year.” Dephilippo v. Cinnaminson Twp. Planning Bd., No. A-5837-12T3, 2014 WL 5782817, at *9 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Nov. 7, 2014). As one might imagine, the madness of Black Friday has also been known to prompt litigation. See, e.g., Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., 29 F. Supp. 3d 85, 95 (D. Conn. 2014) (“This motion was filed on the eve of ‘Black Friday,’ which is the highest volume shopping day in the United States and kicks off the holiday shopping season.”).

In a recent lawsuit in Mississippi, the Plaintiff alleged “that while she was shopping at the Belk department store in Tupelo, Mississippi on November 23, 2012, the Friday after Thanksgiving and the day commonly known as Black Friday, a clothing rack fell on her, causing her to sustain injuries.” Burress v. Belk Stores of Mississippi, LLC, No. 1:13-CV-00230-GHD, 2015 WL 3743918, at *1 (N.D. Miss. June 15, 2015). Another Plaintiff filed suit after she was “directed by a Target employee to go to the end of the line” that formed outside of the store and, “[o]n her way to the back of the line Plaintiff tripped and fell on the black asphalt.” Wilguess v. Target Corp., No. CIV-14-1367-C, 2015 WL 5165273, at *1 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 2, 2015). A Plaintiff in Florida filed suit alleging that she was injured “when a crowd of customers rushed to enter one of Defendant’s retail stores for the annual post-Thanksgiving sale.” Chewning v. Target Corp., No. 3:12-CV-1086-J-12JBT, 2013 WL 3013864, at *1 (M.D. Fla. June 14, 2013).

Perhaps the best Black Friday-related lawsuit ever filed was initiated by famed frivolous lawsuit filer Jonathan Lee Riches, who filed a “pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ‘Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, Mayflower Movers, Pilgrim Pride, Turkey Hill, Black Friday, Corn on the Cob, Cleveland Indians'” alleging that ““defendants are responsible for higher traffic, that they are ‘conspiring with the oil companies to drive up gas prices,’ and that Thanksgiving is ‘responsible for his mistreatment.’” Riches v. Thanksgiving, No. C 07-6108 MJJ (PR), 2007 WL 4591385, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 28, 2007).

We hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and that no one finds themselves on the defendant side of the “v” in a Black Friday-related civil action.

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