Wal-Mart sued by pregnant woman apprehended for shoplifting

Kelly Holleran Feb. 15, 2010, 5:14am

A Madison County woman claims her unborn child became injured after a loss prevention officer at Wal-Mart accosted her and accused her of shoplifting at the store.

Jamira Haas filed a lawsuit Feb. 5 in Madison County Circuit Court against Wal-Mart and its loss prevention officer, Justin A. O'Malley.

Haas claims she visited Wal-Mart on Feb. 6, 2008, to shop. As Haas browsed through the store, O'Malley began to follow her because he believed her to be guilty of shoplifting, according to the complaint.

He then followed Haas out of the store to apprehend her for shoplifting, the suit states.

"Without justification, O'Malley intentionally grabbed Plaintiff by one of her arms to restrain her, which was harmful and offensive," the complaint says. "Plaintiff shouted at O'Malley that she was pregnant, whereupon he intentionally threw her to the cement apron in front of the store in willful disregard for Plaintiff's safety and for the safety of her unborn child, all of which was harmful and offensive."

When O'Malley threw Haas against the cement, she claims she struck her knees, causing her back pain, which made her fear O'Malley injured her back because she suffers from spina bifida. In addition, she feared for the safety of her unborn child, according to the complaint.

Indeed, the impact caused difficulties with Haas' pregnancy and injured her child, although she does not specify what sort of injuries the baby incurred, the suit states.

In the end, O'Malley did not charge Haas with retail theft because she had not stolen anything from the store, the complaint says.

Still, Haas claims the incident caused her extreme anguish and anxiety over the possibility that her unborn child could be injured and has forced her to incur medical costs.

In addition to O'Malley, Haas names Wal-Mart as a defendant, saying the store failed to properly train O'Malley on how to appropriately identify and apprehend shoplifters.

In her eight-count suit, Haas seeks a judgment of more than $400,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

John Turner of Belleville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-129.

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