What to do if I was assauled by loss prevention at a store?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2012

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What to do if I was assauled by loss prevention at a store?

I walked out of a store with a product that I paid for with the receipt in my hand. I heard a man yell stop and when i turned around there was an employee behind me. He asked to see my receipt so I showed it to him. He said I can’t see it so I put it closer to his face. He proceeded to grab the receipt and the hand that it was in. He also with his other hand grabbed for what was in my hand. I told him to let go and that he had no right to put his hands on me. He proceeded to pull me into the store by my hand to the security door. I showed the security officer my receipt, told him what had just happened. I went to put my item in my car and filed a formal complaint with the LP and had a police report filled out. The officer said that the tape was too fuzzy and he could not for sure say that he pulled me but that he did see some “hand wrestling” his words. Can I sue?

Asked on September 13, 2012 under Personal Injury, Oklahoma


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most jurisdictions you can sue for this conduct.  Whether it is worth your time and expense to sue is another matter.  There are various legal theories under which you could sue, such as false imprisonment (stopping you from leaving qualifies for this is most jurisdictions), invasion of privacy, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and perhaps others.

It sounds like the store does a very poor job of training its employees.  I am unsure from your question whether a security employee detained you or another employee detained you, but they should not have behaved as they did.  Stores have the right to detain shoplifters but they have to have some reasonable basis to believe you were shoplifting.  Since you clearly paid for the item, it does not appear they had that basis.  In addition, it sounds like the means they used may be unlawful even if they had a reasonable basis.

You can speak with injury lawyers in your area to see if any would be willing to take action on your behalf.  Be prepared to call a number of lawyers as most lawyers have little experience with this kind of claim.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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