A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated false jail and negligence allegations against Old Navy LLC by a woman who was wrongly accused of shoplifting.
Saudia Scott, a black woman who runs a boutique-style clothing company that sells clothing purchased from retailers including Old Navy, made a trip to replenish supplies for her company in July 2016, according to the fourth U.S. Court of Appeals ruling. Richmond, Virginia, in Saudia Scott v. Old Navy LLC c / o GAP Inc .; GAP Inc. and Jan Doe I, et al.
A store employee became suspicious, in part because Scott had “grabbed” several dresses of various sizes and called police and said Scott “was potentially about to steal,”; according to the verdict.
After Scott paid for her goods and left the store, two uniformed police officers came forward and told her that she had been accused of shoplifting. She returned with them to the store where the store employee apologized. A police officer escorted MS. Scott outside about 20 minutes later.
Scott sued Old Navy and its parent company, San Francisco-based Gap Inc., in April 2018 on charges of, among other things, false imprisonment and negligence. The U.S. District Court in Baltimore granted the Old Navy a summary judgment on all of her claims.
A divided appellate court reinstated the charges of false imprisonment and negligence.
“The sole basis for its rejection of Scott’s claim of false imprisonment (that Scott’s movement was not restricted by the police) and negligence” – that the store employee had acted reasonably in the circumstances – “correctly resolved genuine disputes in favor of Old Navy” that in the opinion.
“While a reasonable jury may not be Forced to find in Scott’s favor on these points… a reasonable jury could find in her favor, if we presuppose – as we must in this position – that it credited her evidence and drew reasonable conclusions in her favor “, it said, by revoking the summary judgment of the lower court and remanding the case for further proceedings.
The dissenting opinion stated: “While Scott was rightly outraged by the incident – after being investigated for something she did not do – the Old Navy did not violate an obligation recognized by customary law, nor is it responsible for falsely imprisoning Scott. “
Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.