Julia Garcia of Texas is suing Walmart for False Imprisonment and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.  Evidently, employees of Walmart tore up two of her $100 bills because they believed the money to be counterfeit.  However, after humiliating and detaining her at the front of the store for 2 hours, it was determined that the money was in fact real.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is an intentional tort that requires a showing of “extreme and outrageous” conduct by the defendant.  Additionally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant acted “intentionally or recklessly,” and that the defendants conduct caused plaintiff severe emotional distress.  Most would agree that Walmart’s actions were “extreme and outrageous” not only because the employees ripped 2 of her $100 bills instead of using a counterfeit bill detector, but also because they detained her at the front of the store for 2 hours while other customers could easily see her and assume wrongdoing on her part.  They could have kept her in an area where she would be subject to less embarrassment.  To add insult to injury, the employees told curious customers in passing that she was busted trying to use fake money.

Walmart should take proper care before accusing a customer of using fake money and announcing it to every passer by.  This can cause severe distress in some cases because of the ridicule and embarrassment that these individuals may feel.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is a serious tort as it restrains an individual to a bounded area with no reasonable means of escape.  Julia was probably too scared to try to leave Walmart as the employees were accusing her of carrying counterfeit money.  Instead of accusing her and wasting her time, they could have used the counterfeit bill detector to verify the authenticity of the bills.  Further, there was no reasonable means of escape for Julia, as she was specifically told to wait for the police at the front of the store.  She probably thought that if she tried leaving, the employees would apprehend her, further adding to her humiliation.

Walmart should probably spend more time training its employees or else it will have more lawsuits coming its way.  This mishap could have easily been resolved if the cashier carried a counterfeit bill detector.  But unfortunately, a customer had to be humiliated and Walmart had to be sued because of their lack of training.  Hopefully they learned a lesson from this avoidable incident.

What to Do if you Have Been the Victim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress or False Imprisonment

Both Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and False Imprisonment are intentional torts.  A civil attorney would be most advantageous in helping you win your case.  You can easily find experienced attorneys by searching under the practice area within your state.

Do you think Julia will prevail against Walmart for False Imprisonment and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?