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Family Stymies Woman’s $86,100 Suit Against K mart Store

October 28, 1986

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ A woman who won $86,100 after claiming her back was injured at a K mart store has lost most of the money because relatives came forward and said she had suffered from back problems for years.

Cally Gordon, 66, testified last spring that she had her first back injury in November 1984 after a defective display chair collapsed beneath her at a K mart store here.

But within days of learning Mrs. Gordon had won the money, brother-in-law Lawrence Sanborn contacted an attorney for K mart Corp. Both he and his daughter signed sworn statements saying Mrs. Gordon had long had back trouble and were ready to testify at a new trial.

Sanborn, of Dunedin, found medical records that showed Mrs. Gordon had serious back problems dating back at least to 1974.

″She figured she could make a buck on it,″ he said.

Mrs. Gordon said Sanborn and his daughter were spreading ″pernicious lies″ out of spite.

″Don’t believe a word,″ she said.

But although a third relative, Sandra Devine, signed an affidavit supporting Mrs. Gordon, Circuit Judge David Seth Walker ordered a new trial in June, saying that while K mart was negligent, a new jury should reconsider the question of damages.

Before that trial could begin this week, Mrs. Gordon agreed to a much smaller out-of-court settlement, said K mart attorney Charles Hall. The amount of the settlement was not released.

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