Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wal-Mart to Face Possible Wrongful Death Lawsuit after Death of Suspected Shoplifter

Wal-Mart is likely to face a wrongful death lawsuit following the death of a suspected shoplifter.

According to reports, Wal-Mart’s security officers in its Covina, California store caught a man who was allegedly trying to steal clothes and a body wash which amounted to $950. Allegedly, there a chasing incident occurred that went all the way to the store’s parking lot where a fight between the suspect and the security officers broke out.

Upon the arrival of police officers, they saw the suspected shoplifter whom appeared to be in a medical emergency.

The commotion was already over when police arrived; hence, nobody knows what really happened during the fight between the security and the man.

The paramedic team took the man to a hospital to treat the injuries he sustained from the said struggle against Wal-Mart security officers. Nevertheless, the man was declared dead at the hospital after a short while.

At present, the major cause of the man’s death was not yet determined, but an autopsy will be performed soon as required by the state’s law.

Under the California laws, a coroner’s investigation shall be done to determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of all violent, sudden or unusual deaths that occur within the state.

On the other hand, some states, including California, allow detention by a store security on suspicion of shoplifting. Such law is commonly referred to as “shoplifter’s privilege” wherein business owners are allowed to detain a suspected shoplifter for a short period of time and at a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, as provided by the law, business owners may use reasonable amount of non-fatal force to stop the shoplifter’s escape or to protect themselves.

Therefore, once the investigation revealed that Wal-Mart’s security officers used an unreasonable amount of force in detaining the suspected shoplifter, they could be held liable for the death of the man.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is currently conducting an investigation regarding the said incident.

According to a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer, the security officers involved in the said chasing incident will probably be slapped with wrongful death lawsuit and false imprisonment depending on the investigation’s eventual findings.