Shopper sues Wal-Mart, claims mental distress after detention for shoplifting

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 2, 2011, 9:18am

LUFKIN - A Wal-Mart customer has filed a lawsuit against the store claiming she and her daughter are suffering from flashbacks after being wrongfully detained by an employee for shoplifting.

Michelle Bilberry filed suit against Wal-Mart Stores Texas, doing business as Walmart, on April 28 in Polk County District Court. The defendant removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division on May 27.

According to court documents, Bilberry was assaulted and unlawfully restrained, stopped and detained by a Wal-Mart employee in Livingston on July 8, 2009. Bilberry states a store greeter confronted her and illegally grabbed the minor and detained her.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to provide an adequate written policy regarding the role of a store greeter, failing to provide training to its store personnel on how to handle suspected shoplifters, failing to have adequate policies and procedures regarding stopping and detaining customers.

The plaintiffs state the incident caused them to be humiliated, suffer from wounded pride, severe disappointment, insomnia, flashbacks, indignation, fright, embarrassment and shame.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for mental anguish, exemplary damages, interest and court costs.

Bilberry is represented by Cleveland attorney James B. Manley.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 9:11-cv-00095

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