It’s Turrible What They’re Doing To Norman

I think he’s something like a 5th cousin, thrice removed.

Something like that. I get real confused about these things.

Anyway, cou-zan Norman’s back in the news, thanks to this stoopid Wal-Mart lawsuit that won’t go away.

You hear about this? It happened a while back

A Louisiana woman is suing a Wal-Mart store over what she claims was a much-too-close encounter of the furry kind. Rebecca White says in her lawsuit that employees at a Wal-Mart in Abbeville let a rat-tailed rodent known as a nutria run loose and scare her. She says that not only did employees know it was in their store, but gave it a pet name, Norman and failed to warn shoppers.

White says she was pushing a full shopping cart down an aisle in October when the nutria ran out from behind a rack. She says she pulled the cart backward in a panicked attempt to protect herself and hurt her back and foot.

Yadda, yadda.

No, Morris Bart isn’t the plaintiff lawyer. Cat’s name is Anthony Fontana, who’s on the school board in Vermilion Parish. He’s also kinda like the Morris Bart of Abbeville – and he’s more of a river otter than a nutria.

River otters and nutria definitely don’t get along. People don’t know this, but river otters are freakin’ MEAN sons of buggers. If you don’t believe me, just ask Seimone Champagne.

So anyway, Fontana found himself a client and now he’s off on a jihad against Cou-zan Norman.

But the good news is that Norman’s bosses – he’s been a greeter at the Wal-Mart in Abbeville for a few years now – are stickin’ up for him against the slip-and-fall crowd…

Subsequent to that, after taking other depositions, Walmart amended its response to the suit, saying in that December 2010 action that the accident, if it happened, was partly White’s fault for “over-reacting to the presence of a baby nutria, a frightened and non-aggressive animal in attempting to run away from the frightened baby nutria, when the nutria was in retreat.”

The company also amended its defense, saying if the incident happened the fault lies with “all known and unknown third parties for whom it is not responsible, including any and all other companies hired to find and/or locate the nutria but failed to do so.”

All this is good to know, but Fontana’s client – I don’t know what species of marsupial she is – is making all kinds of accusations. You’d think Cou-zan Norman was a tiger. Or a vampire bat. Or one o’ those chupacabra deals. Anyway, she’s not suing Norman – he’s a brokedick and all they could get out of him is his Barq’s bottlecap collection, which admittedly is exquisite. She’s suing Wal-Mart for negligence. Or maybe punitive damages.

The lawsuit said Wal-Mart did not:

• Warn her of the nutria prior to her entering the store.
• Did not take steps to protect her from the nutria.
• Did not warn her that she is shopping at her own risk because there is a wild animal loose in the store.
• Did not attempt to capture the nutria.

As a result of the above, White suffered:
• Pain, suffering and mental anguish.
•Fear of being bitten by a wild animal causing a panic attack.
• Painful disabling injury to her back and foot.
• Interference with her daily activities.
• Medical expenses past, present and future.

Norman tells me he’s pissed beyond belief at the suggestion he’s a wild animal. Just because he was a Snake at USL doesn’t make him wild; those dudes don’t even haze all that much. I mean, come on. The biggest thrill he gets in his life is once a year he throws a bender at the Indian casino in Baldwin and blows 100 zamoleons on the slots while getting the waitresses to bring him free Cuba libres. Guy’s a lot less exciting than, say, Bobby Badon, and so far as I know nobody has sued a store cuz they saw Badon in there.

Though now that I’ve said it, Fontana might well take that ball and run with it.

And he’s even more pissed off at being called a “varmint” in the media. The Marksville paper calling him a varmint! The very idea, indeed.

Anyway, the deposition Otter Fontana wangled out of the rather feeble Miz White had some hum-dingers in it…

In her deposition, Rebecca White describes Norman as “this big rat-looking thing with some hair all sticking out. He was standing there and he turned towards me and he looked at me” as she approached the cola section to get a drink.

“And when he looked at me, all I could see was his hair sticking up on his back and he was like greasy, and all I could remember is the big ugly face with some big orange teeth.

“And then he jumped down and it looked like he was coming to attack me,” she said.

Norman says the greasy part is true, but he’s got an explanation. Seems he’d gone to Dupuy’s for lunch and gone bonkers on the fried oyster platter, and he’s a real messy eater. Still, that’s not a real nice thing to say about somebody in front of a stenographer.

And there’s more, but this part Norman says he thinks is pretty cool…

“I was kind of dizzy, like it was far away. I guess it was one of the Walmart employees that said ‘I see somebody encountered Norman’ is what I heard him say … after I seen the nutria rat I blanked out. I’m telling you, I don’t know nothing,” she said.

See, over that way Norman used to have something of a reputation with the ladies. And when he read this, he was lookin’ for high-fives. “I still got it, baby!” is what he said.

The good news is he’s still got his job, though he didn’t get that promotion he was lookin’ for. But he says – and don’t tell anybody in Abbeville this – he’s thinkin’ about movin’ to Lafayette to ply his trade there.

I told him that’s a mistake. What he needs to do is get out of retail altogether – they just don’t recognize talent in that bidness.

I said he ought to get a law degree. Hell, if Fontana can do it, just about any other rodent can.

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