Los Angeles, CA. 99 CENT STORES ACCUSED OF FALSE IMPRISONMENT AND EXTORTION
On September 18th, Plaintiff Dennis J. Stankie will be in a California courtroom pursuing causes of actions of against the 99 Cent Only Stores arising from an incident in 2014.
Plaintiff Stankie was returning home from a church dinner, when he stopped at the 99 Cent Only Stores to “purchase several items, including a bottle of Tylenol.” After his purchases, Stankie was about to exit the store when he “was surrounded by three male plain-clothed security personnel. At least one of them flashed a realistic looking shiny belt badge and claimed to be ‘L.A.P.D.’”
Plaintiff Stankie says he “was accosted and escorted to the back of the store into a small ‘Security room’". He realized later that the three men were not Los Angeles Police Officers, but rather Security personnel contracted by the 99 Cents stores. Stankie charges that he was “held and detained against his will for numerous hours, and was denied basic human rights such as water and the ability to use the restroom.”
At one point during his captivity in the backroom of the 99 Cent Only Store, Plaintiff Stankie made a “desperate attempt to use the rest room before peeing his pants.” He was forced to urinate in a waste paper basket.
99 Cent Only Stores forced Stankie to watch a video about a program offering “civil recovery” as a way of avoiding criminal prosecution for shop-lifting, then the company tried “to extract payments or promises to make payments as well as admissions of guilt.”
Plaintiff Stankie asserts that he was “browbeat, badgered, intimidated and coerced, solely for the purpose” of signing a confession that he had shoplifted, and to get him to consent to pay in the future for a Corrective Education Company Program agreement.
Plaintiff Stankie charges the 99 cent Only Stores civil recovery program “as long as it involves payment of money to the retailer will always be extortion per California law used to extract payments as well as admissions of guilt.” 99 Cent Only Stores would force shoplifters to watch a video, then try to extract a ‘program’ payment from them, as well as admission of guilt.
Plaintiff Stankie was told he had to sign the agreement and pay the 99 Cent Only Stores $300 in order to be released. He also charges in his complaint that he “sustained severe and serious injury to his person, mental anguish and pain and suffering and continues to suffer humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress, and discomfort.”
“I cannot imagine anyone not understanding this is outrageous to force an elderly man to pee in a trash can as punishment for refusing to sign a confession,” Stankie says.
What you can do: Sprawl-Busters reported two years ago that Walmart was using a similar “restorative justice” program in many states, see: http://www.sprawl-busters.com/search.php?readstory=4168.
A Wal-Mart spokesperson admitted: “The Restorative Justice Program allows us to not call the police at all and process the offender right on the spot.” If the alleged offender doesn’t have $400 up front, Wal-Mart will charge the $500 in installments to take the course.
Since the cost of producing this course is a one-time fixed cost, either Wal-Mart or the company who made the course can make a nice little profit off the plan.
Sprawl-Busters will report the outcome of Dennis Stankie's court appearance against the 99 Cent Only stores.