Alleged Shoplifter, Stripped on Video, Sues for Emotional Distress

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 14, 2013 12:14 PM

A New York shoplifting suspect who was confronted and stripped on camera is now suing 7-Eleven for emotional distress.

David Golson, 30, allegedly tried to swipe a Snickers bar from a 7-Eleven in Brooklyn in October 2012, prompting clerks to violently strip him down, Courthouse News Service reports. The incident was recorded on surveillance and cell-phone camera video, which went viral after being publicized in news reports.

Does the stripped accused shoplifter have a case?

Hungry, Why Wait? Steal a Snickers

The video at issue appears to be a compilation of cell-phone videos of the same incident, showing multiple angles of Golson being physically restrained and possibly even bitten by 7-Eleven clerks in an attempt to restrain him.

You can see the video here:

According to Courthouse News, Golson's suit claims that 7-Eleven clerks "hit, bit, and stripped" him, and alleges that "[Golson] was not resisting but merely pleading to be released." In addition to suing for assault and battery, the near-naked alleged Snickers swiper is seeking damages for emotional distress after suffering the humiliation of being stripped in-store and on camera.

The New York Daily News reports that Golson was "charged with robbery and criminal mischief" for the 2012 incident, but strangely, no news outlet has been able to verify if the case was resolved.

Shopkeepers can often defend themselves against false imprisonment claims when a shoplifter sues for being detained, but these 7-Eleven clerks arguably went far beyond detention by tearing off his clothes.

Is Biting Good Store Policy?

Golson isn't just suing a clerk involved in wrestling his clothes off, he's suing 7-Eleven for damages caused by its employees. As part of a negligence claim against the convenience store chain, Golson can claim that the offending store's employees were improperly trained, leading to the October 2012 melee.

The case may also delve into 7-Eleven's store policy on detaining and/or searching suspected shoplifters, which can be legal if done reasonably.

Store policy or not, the alleged actions by clerks -- as seen on video -- aren't likely to be found by a court to be reasonable searches nor detention given the circumstances, so Golson's case is looking pretty good.

Looks like instead of getting a Snickers, Golson might be looking forward to a PayDay.

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