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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Cockrell

Texas Court of Appeals
61 S.W.3d 774 (2001)


Facts

In November 1996, Karl Cockrell (plaintiff) was detained by Raymond Navarro, a loss-prevention officer, while Cockrell was attempting to leave a retail store owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) (defendant). Navarro asked Cockrell to follow him into a manager’s office, where Navarro asked Cockrell to take down his pants and remove his shirt. Cockrell had a large bandage covering a surgical wound on his stomach, and Navarro asked Cockrell to remove the bandage as well. Two additional Wal-Mart employees were in the office when Cockrell was forced to remove the bandage. Finding no evidence of theft, Navarro apologized and allowed Cockrell to leave. Following the incident, Cockrell suffered mental anguish and became withdrawn. Cockrell eventually brought a claim of false imprisonment against Wal-Mart. At trial, Cockrell’s parents testified that Cockrell refused to leave the house following the incident and that his relationship with his father suffered. The jury returned a verdict for Cockrell and awarded $300,000 in damages. Wal-Mart appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dorsey, J.)

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