Walmart Threatened Woman With Legal Action, But She Got $2.1 MILLION

After a trip to a local Walmart had gone awry, the big-box retailer threatened an Alabama woman with legal action. A court case did eventually ensue, but much to the superstore's surprise, the woman was the one awarded $2.1 million many years after the incident unfolded.

Lesleigh Nurse of Semmes, Alabama, was using the self-checkout at her local Walmart while accompanied by her husband Ed and three children in November 2016 when the barcode scanner allegedly froze, according to a lawsuit that would follow years later.

Lesleigh requested employee assistance to complete her transaction, never imagining she would end up arrested after being accused of shoplifting groceries.

After Lesleigh thought she finished and paid, she was stopped by an asset protection manager as she was leaving the store, according to WKRG. "I remember going in that little room and I was like, 'This will be resolved, this was an accident, this wasn't on purpose,'" she told the outlet. Sadly, she was mistaken as store employees did not accept her explanation. Instead, she was accused of stealing $48 worth of groceries — 11 items total, including Christmas lights, a loaf of bread, and Cap'n Crunch cereal.

After Lesleigh Nurse was arrested on warrants of shoplifting, her mugshot was taken, but the criminal charge was dropped when no one from Walmart showed up to court. However, things were far from over. Instead, the superstore tapped Palmer Reifler, a Florida law firm, and began threatening the mother-of-three with legal action unless she repaid $200, which was more than the value of the alleged "stolen goods," Daily Mail reported.

Rather than comply, Lesleigh maintained her innocence. As a result, she was bombarded with notices from the law firm, threatening to file a civil suit against her if she did not pay them $200.


The retailer allegedly directed the law firm to send the letters even though the criminal charges were dismissed, causing Lesleigh to finally take action herself.

With the damage to her reputation already done, her ability to make a living stifled by the criminal charge, and continuing to receive demand letters from a Walmart-affiliated law firm, Lesleigh filed a lawsuit against Walmart, alleging that she was falsely accused and arrested. "At first you think, 'Well, I'll pay it and it will all go away,'" Lesleigh recalled.


"But then I'm like I didn't do anything wrong. Why would I pay for something I didn't do?"

Much to Lesleigh Nurse's delight and Walmart's dismay, a Mobile County jury unanimously voted in the woman's favor, and Lesleigh Nurse was awarded $2.1 million after Walmart falsely accused her of stealing. That wasn't the only bad news for the big-box store. The lawsuit not only came with a hefty price tag, but it also exposed Walmart's alleged "malpractice of using an obscure state law to collect millions of dollars from people who shoplifted from the store," according to Daily Mail.

The lawsuit [Lesleigh] Nurse filed against Walmart charged the company with "abuse of process," meaning the company used the criminal charges to bolster their chances of civil recovery. Her attorney, Vince Kilborn explained: "Exactly, they prosecute her solely for the purpose of getting what they call civil recovery or money." [Source: WKRG]

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