The SE Texas Record Aug. 23, 2012, 2:54pm

Golden Triangle local Charlotte Sears has filed suit against Family Dollar, claiming she was defamed when local media displayed images of her and reported she used a stolen credit card.

Sears had previously filed a petition to take deposition before suit on June 22 in Jefferson County District Court, seeking the depositions of Family Dollar and the Beaumont Police Department.

The actual lawsuit was filed Aug. 20.

The lawsuit alleges that on March 21 BPD secured a security videotape and/or photograph from Family Dollar for the purposes of investigating a stolen credit card case.

The image showed Sears completing a transaction at the counter of Family Dollar, the suit states.

Local media outlets then showed images of Sears. She was identified as the person accused of using a stolen credit card at Family Dollar.

"The statement was defamatory because it unambiguously accused plaintiff of using a stolen credit card belonging to a 77-year-old woman to rack up over $1,000.00 of charges," the suit states, adding that Sears was immediately contacted by several individuals after her image was shown.

In her suit, Sears claims she paid with cash and did use any credit card when the Family Dollar claims she did.

The four-count suit accuses Family Dollar of defamation, libel per se, defamation per se and negligence.

Sears is suing for actual and exemplary damages, plus all court costs, including attorney's fees.

Houston attorney Chris Bell represents her.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. E192-905

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