Unlawful Detainment: An Analysis

Under Georgia common law can Ms. King sue Bauer’s Department store for False Imprisonment where she was unlawfully detained of her personal liberty even though when she paid for the items that she purchased. An action of false imprisonment will lie where a person is unlawfully detained under a void process, or no process at all. Bauer’s Department store cannot take shelter under shopkeeper’s privilege as the detention was not in a reasonable manner as she was forced by the security guard, he touched her elbow and locked her in a store room with no window and it was not for a reasonable period because the episode lasts for about thirty to forty-five minutes. There was a probable cause to believe as there was an activation of the alarm while Ms. King was leaving the store.

Brief Answer

Yes Ms. King can sue Bauer’s Department store under the doctrine of False Imprisonment as there was unlawful detention of her personal liberty as she was not treated respectfully and she was threatened by the security guard even after paying for the items that she purchased. He also forced her and did physical attack. Shopkeeper cannot take shelter under the shopkeeper’s privileges as the detention was not for a reasonable manner as she was forced by the security guard, he touched her elbow and locked her in a store room with no window time and was not for a reasonable time as the episode lasts for thirty to forty-five minutes. Furthermore, Ms. King paid for the goods that she bought and due to some negligence of the employee of the store she was detained.

Statement of facts

Ms. King was Shopping with Bella, her 5-year-old daughter at Bauer’s Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia on December 13, 2016., and bought jeans and t-shirts. There was ringing an alarm to prevent shoplifting while she was exiting the store. She was questioned by store’s security guard. Clothes had tags on them that would trip the antishoplifting device as they passed through the device. The clerk seemed distracted and received a phone call during checkout. She paid cash for the items and kept the receipt in the purse.

The guard spoke gruffly towards Ms. King, and said, “You need to come with me.” The guard then placed his hand on Ms. King’s elbow and she tried to shake off his touch and took her to the room. Ms. King felt “extremely embarrassed” as she and Bella walked away with him. The guard led Ms. King and Bella through the stockroom and he shut the door behind them and asked Ms. King to empty the contents of her purse and shopping bag and went to speak to the sales clerk. The guard left the room for about thirty-five to forty minutes and King does not know whether the door was locked, but she noticed that the room had no windows.

When the guard finally returned, he did not say what he did during that time. After he returned to the room, the guard rummaged through the items from Ms. King’s purse and he found the sales receipt and verified King’s purchases. He then verified that the clerk had not removed the sensor tag from one of the shirts Ms. King had purchased. The security guard removed the sensor tag from the shirt, and allowed Ms. King to leave with her daughter.

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