Crime Woman Awarded $2.1M After Walmart Demands $200 Settlement Over Dismissed Shoplifting Case
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An Alabama woman who was falsely accused of shoplifting in ahas been awarded over $2 million, the Associated Press reported.
A jury in Mobile County sided with Lesleigh Nurse in her second lawsuit against Walmart. She originally sued the company after she was falsely arrested and accused of shoplifting for goods she already paid for. When that lawsuit was dismissed, she began to receive threatening emails from a law firm demanding that she pay a $200 settlement.
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The new lawsuit, which was filed in 2018 by attorney Vince Kilborn, said that Walmart was behind the emails and that they were taking advantage of a state law many did not know about. The law dictated that retailers were allowed to collect money from those accused of shoplifting. However, Nurse and others falsely accused of shoplifting were still ordered to pay.
"The defendants have engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely accusing innocent Alabama citizens of shoplifting and thereafter attempting to collect money from the innocently accused," the lawsuit argued.
According to local news station WKRG 5, the trial included testimony that the retailer has been utilizing the law over the course of two years, collecting hundreds of millions of dollars as a result. Walmart is not the only retailer to utilize the law, but it is unknown whether other businesses were cited in the lawsuit or trial.
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Defense attorneys for Walmart maintain that they had not overstepped any legal boundaries.
"We want our customers to have a safe, pleasant shopping experience in our stores," Walmart said in a statement, according to AL.com. "We take measures to help prevent, identify and appropriately handle instances of theft, which is a problem for all retailers that costs the overall U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars each year. We continue to believe our associates acted appropriately."
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Nurse said in a lawsuit that she was stopped in November of 2016 when trying to leave a Walmart with groceries she said she already paid for, according to AL.com. She said she used self-checkout but the scanning device froze. Workers didn't accept her explanation and she was arrested for shoplifting.
The $200 being demanded was more than the cost of the groceries she was accused of stealing.
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A spokesperson told AL.com that the company will be filing motions in this case because it doesn't "believe the verdict is supported by the evidence and the damages awarded exceed what is allowed by law."
Retailers Push for Stronger Law for California Store Theft After Smash-and-Grab Robberies .
"We feel a little bit like we're under assault," said California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin.KOVR reported that California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin said that though shoplifting has been a growing issue for some time, the recent pattern of groups rushing stores to commit smash-and-grab robberies is "raising it to a whole new level.