In 1996, Dixie Lee Simon was walking to her car in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Denham Springs, La., when a man in a moving car grabbed her handbag. The bag’s strap was wrapped around Simon’s arm, and the robber wound up dragging her several feet before he sped off, never to be caught.

Left with an injured shoulder, Simon sued Wal-Mart. She claimed that the company had been aware of a problem with parking lot crime but had failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure that she wouldn’t be victimized while on the store’s premises. Simon v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 80,299 (La. Dist. Ct. Livingston Par.).