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Shoplifter extortion case against Walmart, other dealers rejected



(Reuters) – A federal judge dismissed a racketeering trial that accused Walmart Inc. and six other extortion dealers by forcing accused shoplifters to take costly "restorative justice" classes or otherwise reported to the police.

In a decision late on Friday, US district director Lucy Koh of San Jose, California, found no evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to direct accused stores to pay $ 400 on the front or $ 500 in periods for the Utah-based Corrective classes. Education Co. LLC and acknowledging debt, to avoid prosecution.

Shoplifting is the main source of inventory "shrinkage" for US retailers, resulting in losses of about $ 559 per incident, along with so-called organized retail crime around $ 1

7.1 billion in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation.

Judge Koh said the three plaintiffs, who were accused in 2017 of store rental from Walmarts in Florida, Georgia and Texas, did not show that retailers had any knowledge of a conspiracy.

She said it did not matter that the retailers could use the correction training database to conduct background checks before deciding to offer the online classes for six to eight hours. Some of the costs claimed by the applicants were replaced by dealers.

"The only alleged commonality that each of the defendants has with each other is CEC, which the plaintiff has chosen not to sue," Judge Koh wrote. "It's not enough to claim a single nationwide conspiracy."

Judge Koh also said she lacked jurisdiction over most of the defendants in the proposed class action because they did not have enough ties to California and said the plaintiffs were unable to sue dealers who did not harm them.

She gave the applicants 30 days to change their claims against Walmart, Corrective Education Founder and some of its employees and directors.

Claims against Bloomingdale Inc., Burlington Coat Factory LLC, Kroger Co. , 99 Cents Only LLC, Save Mart Inc. and Sportsman's Warehouse Inc. were denied bias, which means they cannot be returned.

The complainants were identified as Jane Doe, Mary Moe and John Roe. Their lawyers did not respond immediately to Saturday's request for comment. Walmart and its lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.

Scott Gant, a partner of Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP representing the Corrective Education defendants, said he was satisfied with Koh's thoughtful opinion.

Walmart suspended the use of Corrective Education classes in December 2017, the Wall Street Journal said that month. The case is Doe et al. v. Walmart Inc. et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

                    


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