Woman stuck by needle in Target parking lot awarded $4.6 million

ANDERSON, S.C. — A jury has awarded a South Carolina woman more than $4.6 million after she was stuck by a needle picked up in a Target parking lot.

Before Carla Denise Garrison’s lawsuit against Target Corp. went to trial, her lawyer offered to settle with the retailer for $12,000, but the offer was rejected. If the amount stands, it would be one of the largest awarded in the history of Anderson County litigation, according to Clerk of Court Richard Shirley.

Garrison, of Anderson, said Friday that she was “too overwhelmed” to talk about the case.

According to court documents, Garrison’s injury happened in May 2014 in the parking lot of a Target Anderson.

Garrison had parked and gotten out of her vehicle when her then 8-year-old daughter, Kaileigh, picked up a hypodermic needle. Garrison swatted the needle out of her daughter’s hand. When she did that, the needle stuck her in her right palm, according to court documents.

Documents show that Garrison went into the store and reported the injury to a Target employee. The employee noted in a report that Garrison “seemed worried.”

Garrison was treated at AnMed Health, where she was tested for HIV and hepatitis. She was also prescribed medication because of the potential risk that she would contract HIV. She has tested negative for both HIV and hepatitis thus far, documents show.

According to court documents, the HIV drugs made Garrison sick and caused her to be bedridden. Garrison’s husband, Clint, had to take time off work to care for her, according to her attorney.

“When we started this, we were just trying to get Target to make my client whole, to pay for her medical bills and the time that her husband had to take off work,” said Garrison's attorney, Joshua Hawkins of Greenville. “We tried to be reasonable and not take this to trial. But Target took a really hard stance on it ... and I think the jury sent a message.”

Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels said the company disagrees with the outcome of the case.

"The final damages award has not yet been determined by the Court," she said in an email. "Target is currently considering post-trial motions and appeal options."


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