Do I have a case if I was asked by a store employee if I steal anything? 3 Answers as of July 05, 2016

Last night as I was leaving a store. I showed my receipt at which time the employee asked me if I didn't steal anything. I had my daughter with me and was not only embarrassed but extremely offended. I did have an incident at that store previously where I was charged with shoplifting but have gone to court on the matter and am attending a class at which time charges will be dropped.

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Law Office of Christian F. Paul
Law Office of Christian F. Paul | Christian F. Paul
Your question is whether you have a case, meaning can you sue the store for this question. I assume this question comes from California. I am a California attorney and not licensed to practice in any other state. If other people hear the clerk ask you this, it might be a type of defamation the question carries the implication that you are a thief, and saying so while other people hear it could be considered slander. It also might be a type of invasion of privacy, revealing (by implication) your personal information to others who don't have any right to know it. So you might have a case, depending on the facts, and the damages would be determined by the trier of fact the judge or jury if you sue. It seems you were already charged with shoplifting there, and you want to keep shopping there, so I would suggest that you speak to the manager or owner to protest that the clerk asked you this offensive question and demand that it not be repeated. That might do the trick. If you have to sue and have to hire a lawyer to help you, it could get expensive. You might see if you can get a free consultation by a local attorney who handles this kind of case for a second opinion. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/5/2016
Frank Law Group, P.C.
Frank Law Group, P.C. | David E. Frank
No, you do not have a claim. If a store suspects that you may have stolen something, they have every right to ask you that question.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/29/2016
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
You likely do not have a case; even if you did, it has little value. You did steal before so the question was not entirely out of line. If you daughter knew about the shoplifting before the comment, then there was little in the way of damages. If you sue, the store will bring up the shoplifting and you can not exclude it even if it is taken off your formal, public record. I do not think a jury would feel very sorry for you, especially since you were not punished very much for the prior crime.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/29/2016
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