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Hampton v. Dillard Department Stores
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
247 F.3d 1091 (2001)
Two African American women, Paula Darlene Hampton and Demetria Cooper (plaintiffs), were shopping at a Dillard Department Stores, Inc. (Dillard’s) (defendant) store. Hampton was at the fragrance counter, attempting to redeem a coupon for a free cologne sample. A Dillard’s security guard who had Hampton and Cooper under surveillance came to the counter and accused both women of shoplifting. An investigation quickly proved the women’s innocence. Hampton and Cooper sued Dillard’s for violating 42 U.S.C. § 1981. At trial in federal district court, the jury found the following: (1) Dillard’s offer of a free sample was intended to entice Hampton into its store, and Hampton, upon entering, accepted Dillard’s offer and therefore had a contractual right to claim her sample; (2) Dillard’s employee intentionally interfered with that right; and (3) Dillard’s history of disproportionately putting African American shoppers under surveillance was indirect evidence that the interference was racially motivated. The trial court dismissed Cooper’s claim but awarded Hampton compensatory and punitive damages plus attorney’s fees. Dillard’s appealed to the Tenth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Henry, J.)
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