A Walmart store in Cherry Hill, N.J., is not responsible for racial comments made by a customer who commandeered the store's intercom system, a judge has ruled.
The ruling dismissed a lawsuit by Donnell Battie, a black shopper who had sought $1 million from the retail chain, the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J., reported Wednesday.
Battie was in the store in March 2010 when a teenage customer announced over the public address system: "Attention Walmart customers, all black people must leave the store."
The lawsuit described the statement as an "imminent terrorist threat" that caused Battie "substantial sickness." It said Walmart should be have been alerted to the potential of such offense by a similar action in 2009.
Battie pointed out YouTube videos that captured intercom pranks at other Walmart stores.
U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb rejected those arguments, saying Walmart could not be held "vicariously liable for the offensive speech of one its customers."
She also faulted the lawsuit, filed by Cherry Hill attorney John Klamo, for its "lack of clarity."
Klamo said another attorney is preparing to ask for the suit's reinstatement.