Thank you for your response.
Again, it sounds like a terrible ordeal, and that you feel like you can’t go back to the store makes it even worse.
Based on what you described you may have claims for false imprisonment, defamation (slander) based on the incident itself and also on the subsequent incident where employees had talked about you, and forintentional infliction or negligent infliction of emotional distress. It is particularly troubling that the incident has turned into an ongoing situation.
You may also have claims for violation of civil rights under the Unruh Civil Rights Act which applies to all business establishments of every kind whatsoever and prohibits all types of arbitrary discrimination. A description of the Unruh Act can be found here http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Publications_Unruh.htm
Under the Unrah Act you have the option of filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or filing a private civil suit under the Act. Remedies available consist of cease and desist orders, out of pocket expense, damages for emotional distress and exemplary damages. Court ordered damages may include a maximum of three times the amount of victim’s actual damages.
Complaints under the Unruh Act must be filed within one year of the discrimination alleged. You can speak with a representative at the DFEH at(NNN) NNN-NNNN The DFEH also puts out a brochure on the Unruh Act that may be found here.
You may at this point want to consult with a private attorney experienced in personal injury and civil rights law (or at least the Unruh Act). The Sacramento County Bar Association has a referral service here http://www.sacbarlawyer.org/They offer a free thirty minute consultation for personal injury cases, and such cases are usually taken on a contingent fee basis thereafter, meaning the attorney recovers a portion of the settlement or judgment only if you are successful. The Unruh Act may also provide for the recovery of attorney’s fees.
One thing that you may want to do as you consider your options is to send a letter to the Wal-Mart store manager requesting that they preserve any videotape of the incident. Because the incident happened as you were leaving the store it may have been recorded. Give as much information as you can so they can locate and preserve the tape before it is destroyed or overwritten and tell them that it may be used in a civil action against them and must be preserved as evidence. At this point do not go into the allegations, as the purpose is only to preserve the tape. Send the request certified mail so you will have proof that you made the request. If you consult an attorney let him know you made the request.
I hope the above helps you find the redress you are looking for. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.
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).