Laura Tanaka is an energetic and positive young professional in the banking industry, now living in Arizona.
On January 9th, 1998, she parked her car just four spaces from the entrance to her local Wal-Mart in Oxnard, California. She went to the store to make a simple return. As she unloaded her merchandise, she was attacked and abducted by two men. Fearing she would not survive the incident, Ms. Tanaka jumped from the car, but was restrained by her captors and threatened with a gun. Later she was abandoned in an isolated area, and watched as the two men drove off in her car.
That Wal-Mart store had received more than 900 calls for police attention in the prior two years, including calls for crimes of assault and other kidnapping attempts. Ms. Tanaka sued Wal-Mart and won.
Tanaka's attorney, Gary Dordick, told reporters that "Wal-Mart should have put as much resources and energy into the safety of their customers as they do to protect their own profits and property." The jury in the case found Wal-Mart guilty of negligence. The decision was a victory for Laura Tanaka and others victims of Wal-Mart related crime, but she would have much preferred that Wal-Mart agreed to secure their parking lots to prevent crime from happening in the first place.