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Koepnick v. Sears Roebuck & Co.

762 P.2d 609 (1988)

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Koepnick v. Sears Roebuck & Co.

Arizona Court of Appeals

762 P.2d 609 (1988)

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Facts

Max Koepnick (plaintiff) was detained in a shopping mall parking lot by two Sears Roebuck & Company (Sears) (defendant) security guards, who suspected Koepnick of shoplifting a wrench. One of the security guards, Lessard, called the police. During their investigation, the police officer and Lessard learned that Koepnick had receipts for the wrench and for all of the other merchandise purchased, which was verified by a Sears employee. To determine whether a second wrench may have been stolen, the police officer and Lessard searched Koepnick’s pickup truck that was located in the mall parking lot. No other items were found. The police officer cited Koepnick for disorderly conduct and released him. The entire ordeal lasted approximately 45 minutes. Koepnick filed suit against Sears for trespass to chattel. After a trial, a jury held for Koepnick and awarded him $100 compensatory damages and $25,000 punitive damages. Thereafter, the trial court granted Sears’s motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Koepnick appealed and Sears cross appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Froeb, J.)

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