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Barkley v. McKeever Enterprises, Inc.

456 S.W.3d 829 (2015)

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Barkley v. McKeever Enterprises, Inc.

Missouri Supreme Court

456 S.W.3d 829 (2015)

Facts

Deborah Barkley (plaintiff) was detained for suspected shoplifting in a Price Chopper supermarket owned by McKeever Enterprises, Inc. (Price Chopper) (defendant). Security personnel escorted Barkley to an office and called the police when they found that the cost of the items she had placed in her bag and not paid for exceeded the store’s threshold for prosecution. Barkley was seated on a bench, stood, and approached two employees from behind. Barkley refused to stay on the bench and got into a scuffle with security employees while they were attempting to handcuff her. Barkley, who was handcuffed in front, went to the door and opened it. The employees knocked Barkley to the floor and moved her handcuffs to the back. Barkley remained on the floor until the employees completed their report. The police arrived to arrest Barkley about 46 minutes after she was first detained. Barkley sued Price Chopper for assault, battery, and false imprisonment. Price Chopper maintained that the merchant’s privilege protected it from liability. Barkley’s claims of false imprisonment and battery were submitted to the jury along with Price Chopper’s affirmative defenses. The jury found in favor of Price Chopper. Barkley’s motion for a new trial was denied. On appeal, Barkley argued that the trial court improperly submitted to the jury Price Chopper’s affirmative defense on the battery claim.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilson, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Stith, J.)

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