Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Criminal Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.
You have a right to protect your property and to verify that none of your property is being stolen. It's no different than walmart or sam's workers standing at the door checking your receipt and comparing it to what you have in the buggy.
As long as you didn't retain them or force them to stay inside, then it doesn't appear that you did anything wrong. If you held them against their will, it would be possible to be sued for false imprisonment. But if you just asked them to wait a moment and let you call the phone, and if you didn't demand that they stay, I don't see anything wrong about what was done.
That said, you can't stop the parent from talking to a lawyer, and a lawyer writing a letter to you, etc. But, there are no damages to the children as it didn't cause them any financial loss, emotional distress, etc.
So if I asked them to stay inside for just a few seconds. Is that holding them against their will?
Keep in mind that the crazy, litigious dad was trying to cause a scene. He made them take off jackets etc. Place everything on the counter and stand there while he threatened us. They were embarrassed BY HIM!
It would have to be that you kept them from leaving. For instance, if you told the kids to wait a minute, and they said no, and you then held them back, blocked the door, etc. If they voluntarily and willingly stopped, then there's no false imprisonment/no holding them against their will.
I can understand your concern, but it sounds like the dad was just trying to be a jerk about the thing. I would really doubt this goes anywhere as long as you didn't physically restrain them or block their exit path, etc.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).