Lawsuit puts a spin on shoplifting ordeals

Here’s something we don’t hear every day: shoplifters are now suing the stores they allegedly swiped goods from.

The claim? Extortion, according to the Bay Area’s NBC News affiliate reporting on a class-action lawsuit filed Monday in San Jose, California.

The suit alleges stores such as Walmart, Bloomingdale’s and Kroger are accusing people of shoplifting, then charging those customers money — in the form of a $400 online class — in exchange for not calling authorities, according to the news station.

The online class is provided by a Utah company called the Corrective Education Co. L.L.C., which gives stores including Walmart a finder’s fee for referring clients, according to the news station. Some 1,000 Californians alone have been affected, the attorney representing the unnamed claimants told reporters.

“I think it’s preying on people’s fear of the criminal justice system, preying on people who don’t have access to legal counsel,” attorney Joel Fleming, a partner with Block & Leviton L.L.P., told reporters. “It’s insidious and wrong.”

“Anytime you have the prospect of money not going to law enforcement, you run into issues involving extortion,” Mr. Fleming said. “So, many people may be paying these fees, even if they did nothing wrong.”


Business Insurance

July 3, 2018