Walmart and six other retailers saw a federal judge toss out a lawsuit that accused the group of forcing shoplifters to take expensive classes or otherwise be reported to the local police.
According to a report in Reuters, the decision came down late last week in San Jose, California, with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh saying there was no proof that the retailers colluded to make shoplifters take the class, which cost $400 upfront or $500 in installment payments. Shoplifters would not be prosecuted if they took the classes, which were offered by Corrective Education Co. (CEC), a Utah-based company.
The three plaintiffs were accused of stealing from Walmart locations in three different states in 2017, but Judge Koh found there was no evidence that the stores had any knowledge of a conspiracy. Part of the cost of the classes covered a background check to determine if the class should be offered to the shoplifters, noted the report.
“The only alleged commonality each of the defendants have with one another is CEC, whom plaintiffs have chosen not to sue,” Koh wrote, according to Reuters. “That is not enough to allege one single nationwide conspiracy.”
Because the defendants in the proposed class-action suit didn’t have strong enough ties to California, the judge said she didn’t have jurisdiction. She gave the plaintiffs 30 days to amend the claims against Walmart as well as Corrective Education’s founders, employees and directors. The claims against the other retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Kroger, 99 Cents Only, Save Mart and Sportsman’s Warehouse, were dismissed.
According to Reuters, shoplifting is a big problem for the nation’s retailers, resulting in losses of around $559 for each incident. Combined with organized retail crime, the hit to retailers in 2017 was $17.1 billion, according to data from the National Retail Federation.