What is a parent’s responsibility if their adult child shoplifts?

I have an 18 year old stepbrother that moved out of our house into his mother’s house last summer. He was eventually banned from a specific store. He, at a later date, went and stole a CD and got caught at this store. They are supposed to be going after him for money or he has to do jail time. They also sent a letter stating that they are suing my stepdad for my stepbrother’s actions. If my stepbrother was 18 when this happened and lived with mother, can they legally go after my stepdad for this?

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since your stepbrother is 18, your stepfather is NOT liable.  Your stepbrother is solely liable for shoplifting.  If the store sues your stepfather, he could sue the store for abuse of process.  Abuse of process means abuse of the legal process in this case for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

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