Store not liable for suspected shoplifter's arrest

Daily Business Review

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A jury rejected a shopper's contention that she was falsely arrested and imprisoned for obstructing a law enforcement officer, a charge that was later dismissed.

Monise Etienne, then 20, was at a Walgreens store in Naples when she claimed an assistant manager asked her to open her purse because he suspected her of shoplifting. Etienne claimed she had just paid for several items and was stopped as she walked toward the exit. She refused to allow her bag to be searched. Police searched her bag and found no store merchandise. Etienne's counsel claimed the store could not produce surveillance video to prove she put merchandise in her purse.

Defense counsel claimed the manager saw her place an item in her purse and had probable cause to detain her.

Case: Etienne v. Walgreen

Case No.: 0807288CA

Plaintiff attorneys: Paul Finizio, Finizio & Finizio, Fort Lauderdale; and Lorenzo Williams, Gary Williams Lewis & Watson, Stuart

Defense attorneys: Damian Fletcher and Arthur J. Laplante, Hinshaw & Culbertson, Fort Lauderdale; and Steven Gautier Koeppel, Yeslow & Koeppel, Fort Myers

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