What can we do if a local supermarket posted an image of a family member with the caption, “Please be aware of this shoplifter” and the image has spread all over town?

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What can we do if a local supermarket posted an image of a family member with the caption, “Please be aware of this shoplifter” and the image has spread all over town?

We tried telling the owner to remove the image from their store but will not oblige. Anything advice on this matter?

Asked on July 8, 2015 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends: did that family member shoplift or not?

If he/she did not, then this is an untrue statement of material fact which damages that person's reputation, which makes it defamation. He or she could sue the store for defamation, seeking monetary compensation and/or a court order that they remove the poster.

However, if the family member did shoplift, the store can do this: they are allowed to publish or publicize the truth, even if it is embarrassing or unpleasant for people.


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