I was shopping at a grocery store, went through the checkout and pay for my items. After I finish and grab my bags a manager approached and asked if you want to pay for what I stole, in front of everyone. When I told him I didn't take anything, he says to step over to customer service desk to talk about it. He then claims that an employee saw you put something in your purse . So I dumped out the contents right on the counter. I then you asked if he would show me on surveillance video this act that never happened. He told me he hadn't actually watched them. Yet he has accused Me of being a thief in front of everyone there. He, the employee who accused me, and myself went into the office to view the tapes and after watching, he admits there has been a mistake and says I am free to go.
What are your damages? Has this affected you monetarily in anyway. I understand this was probably embarrassing, but that doesn't make it an actionable claim.
This isn't criminal defense though. I will change to civil litigation.
Before suing Wal-Mart for defamation you'll need to able to show what damages you suffered.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney--Former Prosecutor--Put my experience to work for you!
In most states, a retailer may take reasonable steps to investigate and even detain someone suspected of shoplifting. Aside from the poor choice if words said out aloud, it does not appear that the store/manager acted outside of the permissible parameters. As for the "public" commentary, it probably is not enough legally, and as a matter of economic practicality, tp ho through G HD D time and expense of a lawsuit. The best revenge is to not give this store your business anymore.
All states I am aware of have laws which allow a merchant to do exactly as you describe when they suspect theft, even when they are wrong.
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You may have a case and i suggest you contact a lawyer who handles tort cases on behalf of injured persons. Under South Carolina law, a statement published to third persons is defamation per se if it is an accusation of committing a crime. Statements that are defamatory per se do not require special damages such as a loss of a job because damage to the reputation is presumed. South Carolina has laws relating to the right of a store to stop a suspected shoplifter but these to do not give the store the right to defame a person in the process.
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