Our law firm handles pharmacy error and premises liability cases. Sheer size alone makes Rite Aid a frequent flyer defendant in these types of personal injury cases. The purpose here is to help you better understand you (or your client's) personal injury claim against Rite Aid and what you can expect if you bring a lawsuit.
Rite Aid is one of the biggest retail pharmacy/drugstore chains in the nation. The very first Rite Aid store opened in Scranton, PA in 1962 and the Rite Aid corporation is currently headquartered near Harrisburg, PA. Rite Aid is now the largest drugstore chain on the East Coast and ranks 3rd in the country.
There are hundreds of Rite Aid pharmacies dotted all over Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. Like other competing retail pharmacy stores, each Rite Aid location is part retail/convenience store and part prescription pharmacy. The retail store segment of Rite Aid stores tends to be a bit more scaled back in comparison to CVS and Walgreens, but sales of over the counter health products, cosmetics, and other items still account for a majority of revenues. In 2018, Albertsons bought Rite Aid for $24 billion.
To understand how and why retail pharmacies like Rite Aid get sued, you have to remember their business model. Typically, a retail pharmacy will utilize a two-part business model that is pretty easy to understand. On one side you have the pharmacy that fills prescriptions and on the other side, you have a retail store that sells your regular over-the-counter items as well as a number of other convenience goods. When it comes to retail pharmacies being sued, lawsuits almost perfectly align with this business model as well. For the pharmacy side, you are going to see medical malpractice suits while on the retail side, you will predominantly see premises liability lawsuits.Rite Aid Premises Liability Lawsuits
Most premises liability lawsuits against Rite Aid are slip and fall lawsuits. These types of claims arise when a person sues a property owner for an injury they sustained from a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property. Premises liability lawsuits are the most frequent type of lawsuit brought against retail stores, including Target, Walmart, and CVS. In a lot of cases, something as simple as a wet floor. The best premises liability cases are when the injury stems from a condition that the defendant created. The most difficult premises liability cases are slip and falls where it hard to argue that a reasonable company could have taken the precautions necessary to avoid the injury. Let's say you have a water spill by a customer that is 30 seconds old. It is hard to argue that a company like Rite Aid can solve that problem before the injury occurs. (Here is another example, a claim against Rite Aid that the floor was very slippery from improper waxing.)
Premises liability cases are common against this type of store are so common because of the large number of customers coming in and out of the store daily. Just think of the amount of people alone that come in each day to buy a pack of cigarettes, a soda, print pictures, buy a card, or pick up a simple over-the-counter medication.
Now don't get me wrong, stores like Rite Aid might not sell dangerous products such as a retail store like Home Depot where it's easier to visualize injuries occurring, but just having a large volume of customers coming and going really can enhance the risks of people getting hurt. A lot of times, these injuries are the result of only a minor act of negligence. The more people that come in, however, the greater the chance someone will collide with that minor act.Rite Aid Malpractice Lawsuits
Retail pharmacies like Rite Aid get sued a lot for malpractice as well, usually for some type of medication error. Rite Aid can be sued for medical malpractice because although they are in part a retail store, they are also a healthcare provider by filling prescriptions and when errors occur, that is potentially medical malpractice. These claims for medication errors really only come in two types: dispensing errors (wrong drug and/or wrong dose) and harmful drug interactions.
A lot of times when people hear malpractice, they instantly think of money. That may be true of a lot of cases, but I have to tell you a lot of these medication error lawsuits have a significantly lower value than a lot of other malpractice cases. Not all do, but a good number of them are often worth very little in comparison to others. This is because in most cases, medication errors cause little harm to the victim. It's actually estimated that in only 1 out of 10 times will someone be significantly harmed by a medication error. These types of errors include dispensing the wrong drug or the wrong dose as well as failing to detect likely drug interactions that may be harmful. The good news is that in most cases, you will not experience long-lasting effects or suffer permanent injury. In rare cases, however, things can go significantly wrong.Rite Aid Verdicts and Settlements
Summarized below are recent premises liability and medical malpractice lawsuits resulting in either settlements or jury verdicts. Keep in mind this is just a small sample of the cases that are out there and they are provided for informational purposes only.
- Mejias v. Rite Aid (New Jersey 2017) $10,000: A 15-year-old boy is mistakenly given Haldol, a antipsychotic drug, by a Rite Aid pharmacist when he was prescribed Nadolol, a beta-blocker that is used to treat chest pain and help circulation. Soon after he suffers an adverse reaction to the drug. He recovers and his mother then brings this malpractice action against Rite Aid alleging the pharmacist was negligent in filling his prescription with the wrong drug. Rite Aid agreed to settle for $10,000.
- Morrisey v. Rite Aid (New Jersey 2015) $12,500: A three-month old boy is prescribed medication for gastric reflux, however, a Rite Aid pharmacist fills the prescription accidentally with pills 10 times the dose that was prescribed by the pediatrician. The boy suffers drowsiness, nausea, and constipation until the overdose wears off. The parents bring this lawsuit on his behalf alleging negligence on part of the Rite Aid pharmacist for filling the prescription with the wrong dose. The case quickly settles for $12,500.
- Rite Aid v. Jackson (Virginia 2014) $30,000: Rite Aid pharmacist fails to detect likely reaction a young boy will have from prescription. The prescription is filled and he has a severe reaction that causes injury. His mother brings this lawsuit on his behalf alleging the pharmacist was negligent in failing to detect the probable drug reaction. The case quickly settles for $30 thousand.
- Ballerino v. Rite Aid (Pennsylvania 2013) $25,000: A woman is attempting to enter a Rite Aid store when her hand gets caught in the door and she suffers a fracture and tendon damage. She brings this premises liability lawsuit against Rite Aid alleging they negligently maintained the door handle, failed to reasonably inspect it, and failed to warn of its defective condition. This case did not go to court. Rather, it was decided before an arbitration panel. Rite Aid argued that there were no dangerous conditions on the premises but rather that the plaintiff was injured by her own negligence. The panel found that the premises were in a defective and dangerous condition and found for the plaintiff awarding her $25 thousand.
- Alexander v. Rite Aid (New York 2013) $40,000: A 12-year-old boy slips and falls in a Rite Aid store on paper that was left within an isle in the store. As a result of the fall, he suffers a severe contusion. This premises liability lawsuit is brought on his behalf alleging the store was negligent in failing to maintain the store in a safe condition and had they, he would not have fallen. The defendants denied liability but agreed to settle the case for $40,000.
- Bracey v. Rite Aid (Pennsylvania 2010) $25,000: A 53-year-old woman on disability who has limited walking ability trips over a floor mat and falls in a Rite Aid store. As a result of the fall, she sustains soft-tissue injuries to her neck, back, and shoulder requiring physical therapy. She brings this premises liability lawsuit against Rite Aid alleging they failed to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their premises by allowing the floor mats to rise and become a tripping hazard. Rite Aid denied any liability and argued that she should have seen the mat and acted comparatively negligent herself. The case went to trial where the jury found Rite Aid was negligent and awarded her $25,0000.
- Deal v. Rite Aid (Alabama 2002) $850,000: The deceased plaintiff was given a misfiled prescription by a Rite Aid pharmacy for three months up until her death. For that period of time, Rite Aid gave her double the dose of Lopressor, a blood pressure medication that she had been prescribed and took three times a day. The label on the bottle was printed correctly; however, the pills were double the dose. She quickly developed congestive heart failure and died. Rite Aid admitted they breached the standard of care but argued the overdose did not cause her death. The jury found otherwise and award $850,000 in this wrongful death action.
If you think you have a premises liability or medical malpractice case or anything else against Rite Aid, you need an experienced and respected law firm representing you because these large corporations will pay anything to defend these types of cases. Miller & Zois is one of, if not the top personal injury law firms when it comes to having expertise in medical malpractice and premises liability cases. Contact us at 800-553-8082 or online for a free consultation so we can help.