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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 33543
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Should Wal-Mart (WM) be sued for damages and/or false accusation?

Resolved Question:

Should Wal-Mart (WM) be sued for damages and/or false accusation? What is the statute of limitation on this case?
My cousin went to WM and bought some things and paid for his items at an inner WM cashier center. A WM assurance member followed this cousin and thinking that he stole from WM, the WM associate called police and after a big confusion in which the officer accused the cousin of the theft with certainty, the car was searched and the cousin was also searched and nothing was found in his possession. So he did not steal but the confusion lead to other damages. For example, the cousin had a recording device running and the police officer wanted to take it and when the cousing refused, the officer assaulted him and arrested him and after he was taken to emergency room for major treatment of his injuries, he was then taken to jail. The cousin has no record of arrests. He has been startled by the whole incident. His car was impounded and vandalized with glasses shattered too but nothing illegal was found on him or in his car. The police officer charged him with 4-thgs with second degree assault of an officer being the highest charge. The officer assaulted the cousin and yet charged him with 2nd degree assault. The officer gathered some false witnesses to back him up. Please what should this cousin do and Should WM be sued and held responsible for initiating the false accusation that created the whole confusion. If convicted of the charges brought by this offcer, the cousin will face 6 to 24 yrs in prison. As it is, his record which had been clean will now be messed up. The emotional toll to the family has been grave. Future career is also geopardized for this cousin with a felony in the record. What about all the injuries including head injury. Please expert counsel is needed. Is WM responsible? What is the statute of limitation for the case?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 10 months ago.
Hello and welcome

I'm Sam and I look forward to providing you information in this regard today

I am sorry to hear of this matter for your cousin

It appears that yes, WM may be sued for the false accusations and arrest that was made

The SOL is 1 year for any defamation

But WM can be sued for the damages that ensued because of the false accusations and the SOL for Personal Injury is 2 years

I suggest your cousin consult with a local attorney who will handle this on a contingency basis.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.


Please from reading the given information would you itemize damages that you can see as well as conceive in the case.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Relist: Other.
Need more details relating to damages identified and other conjectures relating to case
Expert:  socrateaser replied 10 months ago.
Hello,

Damages for "false imprisonment," which is what a shopkeeper does when it unreasonably detains an individual against their will, plus civil rights violations, under federal law (42 U.S.C. 1983) include:

1. Pain and suffering;
2. Emotional damages;
3. Medical costs;
4. Loss of enjoyment of life;
5. Loss of consortium and society;
6. Court costs and attorney's fees;
7. Out-of-pocket costs.

For #1, WM is not liable for any, because it did not cause the injuries. They were caused by law enforcement.

For #2, 4 and 5, WM may be liable to the extent that its actions were extreme and outrageous, in the view of a jury. Assuming that such damages are granted, the jury could award whatever it believes is fair. However, a plaintiff cannot attempt to formulize these types of damages. The plaintiff can testify to the nature of his injuries (trauma), etc., but it's entirely up to the jury to determine the amount of the award.

For #3, 6 and 7 the costs are whatever they are, based upon proof (receipts) but WM is not liable for #3 -- law enforcement caused these injuries, so law enforcement would be liable. Also, attorney's fees are not recoverable for false imprisonment. Only the civil rights violation can generate a right to attorney's fees.

In sum, assuming that both WM and law enforcement were sued successfully, I could see at least $250,000, and perhaps up to $1,000,000, dependent upon the plaintiff's injuries and any required recovery time -- (or permanent injury).

But, without a successful suit against law enforcement, I think that WM's separate liability is probably no more than $25,000, because the real meat of the injuries here is related to the plaintiff's physical injuries cause by law enforcement.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.


Since the charges brought against plaintiff by law enforcement is ongoing, should one wait for that case to come to rest before pursuing WM and other possible law suites?


 


What about the fact that this cousin does not believe in pleading guilty to an offence not comitted. Should the cousin take a plea bagain? and can the terms of the bagian stop the plaintiff from suing law enforcement? The plea bagain is offering F5 (manacing), and 3-misdeamenors charges, plus stip to probation, letter, and comty service.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 10 months ago.
Since the charges brought against plaintiff by law enforcement is ongoing, should one wait for that case to come to rest before pursuing WM and other possible law suites?

A: The criminal prosecution could force the defendant to waive his right to refuse to testify during the civil action. So, yes, waiting is probably required.

What about the fact that this cousin does not believe in pleading guilty to an offense not committed. Should the cousin take a plea bargain? and can the terms of the bargain stop the plaintiff from suing law enforcement? The plea bargain is offering F5 (menacing), and 3-misdemeanors charges, plus stip to probation, letter, and community service.

 

A: You're asking some criminal law questions, here. I don't discuss customer criminal law matters in this forum, for a number of legal and ethical reasons. I hope you won't hold it against me.

 

If you want to discuss the criminal law aspects of the case, you can post a new question in the justanswer.com criminal law category, and someone else will almost certainly assist you further.

 

Re whether or not a plea bargain can taint a civil action, yes, it can. An admission of guilt would effectively destroy any civil action against law enforcement concerning the same subject matter.

 

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.


Why is it an advantage for a plaintiff to keep the right to refuse to testify? in other words, why do defendants typically choose not to testify. Thanks for being detailed.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 10 months ago.
It is inevitable that a prosecutor will manage to make a criminal defendant look guilty on the witness stand. Defendants always want to tell their story. But, that's not what winning a criminal law action is about. Winning is about creating reasonable doubt in the mind of th jury, and the best way to do this is to try to damage the prosecution's case -- not by having the defendant tell his/her story.

Once again, we are digressing into criminal law matters. This question was very general, so there's no risk to the defendant. Regardless, I'm asking that you address your criminal law questions to the criminal law category.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.
socrateaser, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 33543
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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