Survey of State Civil Shoplifting Statutes
Book chapter in Richard A. Lieter's National Survey of State Laws, Rev. 2018
16 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2016 Last revised: 5 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 4, 2019
This book chapter contains a detailed survey of state laws pertaining to civil shoplifting statutes. Civil shoplifting statutes provide merchants a special cause of action for recovery against an alleged shoplifter. The statutes operate independently and in addition to any criminal sanctions imposed. Many states permit merchants to charge "civil penalties" in amounts far exceeding the value of the item taken. This chapter highlights the commonalities and distinctions among state statutes, and identifies pertinent themes and anomalies. Particularly, this chapter compares state civil shoplifting laws in the areas of actual damages recoverable, additional penalties allowed, attorney's fees, the relevance of a demand letter, and what effect a conviction has on a merchant's right to seek civil recovery under the statute.
Keywords: Civl Shoplifting Statute, Walmart, Wal-Mart, Ira, Asen, Palmer, Riefler, Demand Letter, Civil Remedy
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