After shoplifting I received a letter from Palmer, Reifler & Associates demanding 500$ to deter a civil suit. Do I pay?

I recently went to an Urban Outfitters in New York and attempted to take an untagged t-shirt away in my backpack. I also purchased other items at the store but I did not purchase that t-shirt, I kept it in my backpack. Before I exited, I was approached by two security guards who asked me to come downstairs. They took down my information from my license. I am a college student over the age of 18. I signed a document saying I cannot return to Urban Outfitters for 3years or it is trespassing, and the guard said that that was all and I would get a letter reiterating the trespassing warning. I just got a letter from Palmer, Reifler, & Associates claiming Urban is 'considering' pursuing a civil penalty claim against me, citing NY CLS General Obligations Law 11-105. What should I do? Pay?

New York, NY -

Attorney Answers (3)

Joseph Briscoe Dane

Joseph Briscoe Dane

Criminal Defense Attorney - Orange, CA
Answered

The letter is from a law firm that does nothing but send threatening letters (and in increasing amounts), trying to get you to pay whatever they want. There have been articles where the firm is quoted as saying they send in excess of a million letters, but have only filed around 10 lawsuits.

The letter has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal case and can in fact hurt you if you pay it - it can be seen as an admission of liability.

Deal with the criminal case if and when it comes up, but the letter is just a threat that rarely, if ever, gets backed up.

Alan James Brinkmeier

Alan James Brinkmeier

Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Chicago, IL
Answered

Palmer, Reifler & Associates, P.A., is real and is a legal firm.

http://www.civilrecoverylaw.com/Main/

That firm is often hired by stores to bring civil complaints against shoplifters and others that have tried retail theft.

They have been sued for their practices.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2008-07-09/...

Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details. Several on this website Avvo have suggested to ignore the letter. You should phone a NY attorney and seek advise from an attorney licensed in New York

Ronald David Coleman

Ronald David Coleman

Litigation Lawyer - New York, NY
Answered

This is a potentially serious matter on a number of scores. You must contact a New York attorney as soon as possible. Do not depend on an online answer in deciding what to do here -- it could affect your future very significantly.

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