Tom Papakalodoukas Awarded $1.3M for Falling at Wal-Mart, Suffering “Popeye Deformity”

| by Alex Groberman
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An unfortunate fall left one St. Lucie man with a lifelong defect known as “Popeye deformity” and grounds for a $1.3 million lawsuit.

Tom Papakalodoukas, 41, was shopping at a local Wal-Mart store in May of 2011 when he slipped on a sign that had dropped from its display case. He ended up tearing the biceps tendon in his right arm as a result, and has since racked up more than $200,000 in medical bills attempting to fix the damage sustained.

One of the three surgeries he has had over the past two years included him getting a cadaver Achilles tendon inserted into his arm.

Among his many other physical and mental anguishes, Papakalodoukas was also left with a condition known as “Popeye deformity” as a result of the spill. According to WPTV, a “Popeye deformity” is recognized as "a malformed right bulging biceps tendon that creates abnormal bulges on his arm.”

After determining that Wal-Mart was responsible for his suffering, Papakalodoukas filed a lawsuit against the company. On Wednesday, a jury in St. Lucie County awarded him nearly $1.3 million for his troubles.

Surveillance tape showing the sign in question falling and then Papakalodoukas slipping on it a short time later ultimately proved to be key in the final verdict.

Wal-Mart purportedly tried to pin the blame for this incident on the company that initially provided the faulty sign, Gatorade, but that argument didn’t do much to bolster their case. It was determined that if Wal-Mart had followed Gatorade’s directions in assembling the sign, it never would have fallen in the first place.

When it was all said and done, an all-female jury awarded Papakalodoukas with $1,287,144.