(TheRedWire.com) – Retail theft tops the headlines of numerous news outlets as some Democratic-led cities refuse to enforce the law. It’s become so prevalent in some cities that criminals organize to steal large amounts of products at one time. They grab what they want and walk out of stores with little to no resistance.
In other areas of the country, some retailers are taking a heavy hand at stopping shoplifting. Unfortunately, a few overzealous retail workers may go too far and accuse people of theft where there is none. In Alabama, Walmart recently used a little-known law in an attempt to extort money from a woman they had accused of shoplifting after a court found her innocent of the charges. Lesleigh Nurse sued Walmart and won $2.1 million.
Walmart Hires Collectors to Go After Innocent People
In November 2016, Nurse used Walmart’s self-checkout machines to pay for her groceries. According to the shopper, the device froze, and she had to get help from the attendant to get the machine squared away. After paying for the groceries, Walmart employees stopped Nurse and her family as they exited the store. She explained the situation to the Walmart employees, but they refused to believe her story. She was arrested later on warrants for shoplifting. A year later, the court dismissed the case for “want of prosecution.”
A month later, Nurse received letters from an attorney demanding a $200 settlement. A loosely written law in Alabama allows retailers to go after people for money despite no criminal convictions for theft or shoplifting.
So, what did the Nurse do? She sued Walmart and won $2.1 million.
Court Rules in Favor of Falsely Accused Shopper
On Monday, November 30, a Mobile County jury ruled in favor of Lesleigh Nurse. Her attorneys argued Walmart engaged in a pattern of falsely accusing people of shoplifting and collecting money from innocent people. Nurse’s attorneys stated Walmart made hundreds of millions of dollars using the practice over two years.
The suit contended Walmart and other retailers used settlements in states that allow the practice to pad their profits and fund asset protection programs. It further stated the corporate giant threatened expensive litigation it could afford, knowing individuals would pay the money to avoid costly legal bills.
Defense attorneys argued the practice is legal. Walmart said it would be filing a motion stating the damages awarded exceed state law.
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