Menards is suing the company that installed its moving walkways after customers were injured at some of its stores, including the one in Richfield.
The Eau Claire, Wis.-based home improvement chain filed the lawsuit against ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corp. April 3 in Eau Claire County Court, claiming the elevator company breached its contract, broke Wisconsin product warranty laws and failed to defend two pending injury cases, according to a report in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.
Officials at both Menards and ThyssenKrupp did not respond to requests for comment.
Menards first raised concerns in a letter to ThyssenKrupp in November 2014 over what was described as a “disproportionate number of injury claims” from the moving walkways at a store in Schererville, Ind., the newspaper reported.
At least four customers of the Indiana store have filed claims against Menards after experiencing injuries, including those where shopping carts got caught in the walkways and knocked down customers, according to the report.
Menards said it had settled two injury claims but two others were still pending.
The lawsuit also said that there were injury claims tied to walkways ThyssenKrupp installed at stores in Richfield and Evendale, Ohio, but Menards did not include specifics in last week’s court filing.
A manager at the store in Richfield said he was unaware of the incident, but that the state of Minnesota inspects the walkways every year for safety.
The Richfield store opened in February 2013 as part of Menards’ nationwide push to expand and update its retail formats.
As with many of the new two-story superstores, including those in St. Paul and Eden Prairie, it incorporated rolling walkways that act as escalators to move customers and their carts between levels. Shopping carts are equipped with special wheels that are supposed to lock to the walkway and then release at the top.
Menards wants ThyssenKrupp to pay for the cost of inspecting and repairing the walkways, injury claim settlements and for defending pending claims.
Menards, a family-owned company, is the nation’s third-largest home improvement chain with more than 300 stores, mostly in the Midwest.