A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. claiming the retail juggernaut’s allegedly “careless and sloppy” in-house assembly of bicycles is responsible for consumer injuries. The 17-page lawsuit, which was filed in Florida district court, claims the company has put “tens of thousands” of people of all ages at risk each year “due to their negligent and reckless bike assembly procedures.”
“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 alleges.
The lawsuit notes that Walmart contracted with third-party vendors to assemble its bikes and transport them to stores until 2014, when it handed this responsibility over to the same employees tasked with putting together its patio furniture and other products. While the lawsuit does not expressly allege a connection between this and the purported quality of Walmart’s bike assemblies, the plaintiff claims employees responsible for putting bikes together receive “inadequate training” and are not required to fill out any safety checklist once a bike assembly is complete.
Aside from the alleged lack of proficiency of Walmart employees tasked with assembling bicycles, the lawsuit points to one potential factor that may have played a large role in consumers’ alleged injuries.
“Upon information and belief, Walmart’s bike assemblers are so pressured to assemble bikes as fast as they can to meet the demand of customers, that 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 says.
The plaintiff claims the handlebars on his Roadmaster bike “suddenly came loose inside their bolt and shifted and slid completely to the right” as he was pedaling along at approximately 15 miles per hour. The lawsuit claims this happened as a result of a six-millimeter bolt being improperly installed during assembly at Walmart.
“Because [the plaintiff] was stabilizing his body on the handlebars, when they became loose and slid to the right, [the plaintiff] lost all control of his bike and was propelled forward over the front of the bike,” the lawsuit recounts, adding that had the handlebars shifted left instead of right, the man would have likely fallen into the path of traffic.
The proposed class includes anyone within the United States who, within the court-defined class period, purchased a bicycle at a Walmart store or online at Walmart.com and was injured while riding the bike due to negligent assembly. Alternatively, the lawsuit proposes a Florida-specific class of individuals who reside in the state and who were injured while riding a negligently assembled bike.
Read the full complaint below.