Woman Wins $2.1M After Shop Falsely Accuse Her Of Stealing

Credit: WKRG
A woman has been awarded $2.1 million (£1.5m) after she sued Walmart for falsely accusing her of shoplifting and bombarding her with legal letters.

Lesleigh Nurse, from Semmes, Alabama, was accused of stealing $48 (£36) worth of items - including cereal and some Christmas lights - and threatened with legal action unless she paid $200 (£150) in 2016.
Credit: WKRG
However, Nurse then filed her own lawsuit in which she said she had paid for the items.

She said she had used the self-service checkout, but that the scanner froze and an employee had helped her. She says when she tried to explain this to workers, they refused to believe her and she was arrested for shoplifting.
Credit: WKRG
Speaking to WKRG, she said: “I remember going in that little room and I was like, ‘This will be resolved, this was an accident, this wasn’t on purpose.’”

The case against Nurse was dropped a year later, but she continued to receive letters from a law firm threatening a civil suit unless he paid $200.

In her countersuit, Nurse said Walmart had instructed the firm to send the letters to her and others.

Her suit claimed: “The defendants have engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely accusing innocent Alabama citizens of shoplifting and thereafter attempting to collect money from the innocently accused.”

Her court filing also stated: “Walmart funds its asset protection department by intimidating those falsely accused of shoplifting out of making a claim against Walmart out of fear of protracted litigation against an almost limitlessly funded corporate giant.”

On Monday (29 November), a Mobile County jury ruled unanimously in favour of Nurse and she was awarded $2.1 million in damages.
Credit: WKRG
A Walmart spokesperson told AL the company ‘don’t believe the verdict is supported by the evidence and the damages awarded exceed what is allowed by law’ and that it ‘will be filing post-trial motions’.

The statement went on: “We want our customers to have a safe, pleasant shopping experience in our stores.

“We take measures to help prevent, identify and appropriately handle instances of theft, which is a problem for all retailers that costs the overall US economy tens of billions of dollars each year. We continue to believe our associates acted appropriately.”

Although a settlement has been reached, Nurse has said it will take a long time to fix the damage to her reputation.

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