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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Resendez

Supreme Court of Texas
962 S.W.2d 539 (1998)


During a lunch break, Lucia Resendez (plaintiff) went shopping at a Wal-Mart store. As she browsed the aisles, Resendez ate from a bag of peanuts marked with a Wal-Mart price sticker. A Wal-Mart security guard, Raul Salinas, observed Resendez put the empty peanut bag underneath a rose bush and then proceed to a checkout station where Resendez purchased some items. After leaving the store, Salinas confronted Resendez in the store’s parking lot and accused her of eating the peanuts without paying for the bag. Resendez agreed to accompany Salinas back into the store where they waited approximately 15 minutes for a police officer to arrive. The police officer arrested Resendez for misdemeanor theft and transported her to jail. Resendez posted bail and left the jail approximately one hour later. Resendez’s conviction for theft was later overturned due to a defect in the indictment. Resendez then filed a civil action against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) (defendant) for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). At a jury trial, Wal-Mart raised the defense of the shopkeeper’s privilege. Subsequently, the jury found in favor of Resendez and awarded damages. Wal-Mart appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The Supreme Court of Texas granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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