What can I do if I was wrongfully confronted by store security in a supermarket, escorted to an office, handcuffed and accused of being someone they were looking for?

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What can I do if I was wrongfully confronted by store security in a supermarket, escorted to an office, handcuffed and accused of being someone they were looking for?

The police were called and when it was determined I was not who I was being accused of being I was told “sorry, wrong person’ and released. Do I have an actionable cause?

Asked on June 17, 2015 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

 The act of unlawfully detaining someone against their will is known as "false imprisonment". Many such cases occur in retail stores when people are suspected of shoplifting. This happens when store security overstep their bounds regarding their right to briefly detain suspects. As a general rule they cannot: lock you in a room, physically manhandle you or physically force you to do anything.

If your legal rights have been violated, you have a personal injury claim and are entitled to compensation. However, there are time limitations within which to legally make such a claim, so you should not delay in consulting with legal counsel. A delay may mean that relevant evidence (e.g. video/audio tapes, suveillance footage, witness statements etc.) can be lost in the days and weeks following an incident. The fact is that it is all too common for critical evidence to conveniently go “missing”. That is why you should act quickly and contact an experienced personal injury attorney; a consultation of this type is typically free.


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