Say it ain't so: Potential end to Walmart overnighting...

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Nomad X

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It has finally happened where someone is suing WM for allowing overnight camping in their parking lots.
A truly greusome story but how it is Walmart's fault for the horrific incident is beyond comprehension, IMO.

Sisters asleep in minivan burned alive in parking lot fire. Now mom is suing Walmart​

Mitchell Willetts
Thu, August 11, 2022 at 1:15 PM


A Minnesota mother is suing Walmart after a fire in a store parking lot burned her daughters alive, killing one and leaving the other “permanently disfigured,” according to a lawsuit.
Essie McKenzie’s daughters were sleeping soundly in the back of her minivan when she pulled up to the Walmart Supercenter in Fridley, Minnesota, on Aug. 6, 2019.
The girls, ages 6 and 9, were tired after being woken early to go to the airport, where McKenzie dropped off her mother, she would later tell investigators, according to court documents. She decided to let them sleep while she took care of some shopping, believing they would be safe.
It was around 6 a.m.

When she came back outside minutes later, the minivan was in flames, documents say.

Full story here: https://www.yahoo.com/news/sisters-asleep-minivan-burned-alive-171500335.html
How does this involve overnighting at Walmart? The family wasn’t there overnight and the minivan could have been a Buick sedan for all that it matters.

This was something that could have happened in the parking lot of a Sears or a McDonald’s. It’s tragic but has ZERO to do with nomadic living.
 

Nomad X

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Law enforcement determined that a California couple was traveling through the state in their 2005 Dodge Caravan, which they were using as a portable, temporary travel home. The night before, the couple had slept in the Caravan in the Walmart parking lot, and the next morning, used a portable cook stove to make breakfast. However, they put the stove back in the vehicle afterward before it had completely cooled off, then drove the Caravan closer to the front of the lot, parking next to McKenzie’s vehicle, and the man — Roberto Hipolito — then went into the store.

McKenzie’s lawsuit says she and her daughters had dropped off her mother and another family member at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that morning for an early flight, then came to the Walmart to pick up some items. Her daughters were sleeping so McKenzie decided to let them continue sleeping in the vehicle while she shopped at Walmart.

About two minutes after Hipolito went inside the store, a passerby alerted Hipolito’s wife — who was in the front of the Caravan — that the vehicle had caught fire. That fire then spread to the nearby cars, including McKenzie’s while her daughters were still inside.

Hipolito pleaded guilty to negligent fire as part of a plea deal and was sentenced in August 2020 to three years of probation with a stayed four-month prison term.

In the lawsuit, McKenzie says Walmart’s policy, which allows overnight camping in its parking lots, along with its failure to monitor the camping areas and conform to state and local ordinances for camping “has created real hazards and thereby endangered the safety and health of those who shop and work in the store or live nearby.” It adds that the “unregulated, unlicensed, and unmonitored campgrounds pose a threat of illness, injury, noise, and crime to a considerable number of members of the public.”

The lawsuit also cites several state and local statutes for camping that it alleges Walmart violates by allowing campers in its lots and failing to supervise those campers. It adds that Walmart’s negligence “escalated the danger to create a foreseeable risk that Mr. Hipolito would use and store a cook stove negligently and thereby cause harm to others.”

More: https://kstp.com/kstp-news/local-ne...hat-killed-1-daughter-seriously-hurt-another/

It is also in the Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article264410476.html
The instigators of this fire stopped “camping” the minute they moved their rig from one part of the lot to another.

If they had put that hot cookstove into their camper before leaving an actual campground before parking next to their victims, could they sue the campground?

There is every legal reason Walmart should be dismissed from this lawsuit. It is entirely frivolous.
 

gone2day

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^I use that site also and it's been handy mostly for finding places to boondock for several days. But when I'm doing a lot of miles, I find that WMs are really handy with many being right near the main highways. There can be big difference between WM locations as to how good a sleep you get, that's for sure!
 

Carla618

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this originally ran in the Startribune (https://www.startribune.com/mother-...-from-neighboring-rv-sues-retailer/600196979/) the other day. i had a feeling many would react like this, and yes most likely due to the race of the victims and litigants. some here likely didnt read that yes the man was camping overnight and did cook a meal in the parking lot thus WM policy was in effect "creating an unregulated campground". i doubt seriously this will be thrown out and yes it will sucks for us.
There is a pay wall on the Star Tribune article. I doubt many knew the race of those involved. I didn't.

This article says it was a hot plate in a minivan...

"Investigators discovered that the origin of the fire was a hot plate being used by Robert Lino Hipolito, who was camping in the Walmart parking lot with his wife in their minivan. The 72-year-old Hipolito was charged with second degree manslaughter, but eventually pled guilty to two felony counts of negligent fire. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail and three years probation."


Edit: "Hipolito admitted he left a hot plate stove unattended in his van..."
 
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GotSmart

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I don't blame the parents in this case. If Walmart is going to allow camping, then rules should be in place. Camping safety rules. Because Walmart failed to do so, we may lose the privilege for good. (Campgrounds don't allow campers to park a few feet apart.)

However, not posting rules may be what saves Walmart in this court case.

I guess that you have never been to a KOA. The neighbors black tank dump is usually under your picnic table and the BBQ grill is within three feet of where the neighbors pop out hangs.

Overnight parking is different from camping. A WM parking lot is great for shut eye but don’t try to live there.
 

Morgana

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None of us are lawyers, and even a lawyer couldn't predict whether the case would succeed, since plenty of crazy cases do.

Three cheers for local news coverage -- it's a really important thing in 1000 ways -- but in a case like this it doesn't matter if you're reading the story in the Hometown Headlight or on CNN. If the reporters are doing their jobs, you're getting it straight from the source either way.

And instead of vague insinuations about people's racial attitudes, why not be specific about (1) what you think "race" has to do with it, (2) what "way" you think people are reacting, and (3) how you think race affected their reaction?

You could start by explaining how you believe you know the race of any of the people involved. (Having a Hispanic last name doesn't even prove your ethnicity, let alone your race. There are plenty of white Hispanic people. And the "litigants" in this story are a white-owned corporation and a person with a Scottish last name.)
 

txmnjim

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There is a pay wall on the Star Tribune article. I doubt many knew the race of those involved. I didn't.

This article says it was a hot plate in a minivan...

"Investigators discovered that the origin of the fire was a hot plate being used by Robert Lino Hipolito, who was camping in the Walmart parking lot with his wife in their minivan. The 72-year-old Hipolito was charged with second degree manslaughter, but eventually pled guilty to two felony counts of negligent fire. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail and three years probation."


Edit: "Hipolito admitted he left a hot plate stove unattended in his van..."
didnt know about the pay wall. this is what the article said; "After finishing making breakfast on a butane camp stove, he put the stove back in his vehicle without waiting for it to cool."
being that this happened in Fridley, MN i would trust the Startribune reporting...
 
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