Monday, July 02, 2007

Area woman sues Wal-Mart, claims false detainment

Area woman sues Wal-Mart, claims false detainment
By Dustin Lemmon Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Illinois City woman filed suit this week against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over a June 2005 incident in which she allegedly suffered a seizure while being detained by store security.

The suit, seeking nearly $800,000 in damages, was filed in Rock Island County Circuit Court by Lindsay Castellano, 21, who also faces a misdemeanor retail theft charge under her maiden name in connection with the incident.

Castellano, who is hypoglycemic, had just purchased $116 worth of groceries at the Moline store on June 26, 2005, when she started feeling woozy and rushed outside to get some juice or candy she kept in her car in case of emergency, the suit stated.

Before she could reach her vehicle, Castellano was stopped by a store security guard, who grabbed her arm and physically prevented her from reaching the vehicle, the suit stated. The suit did not explain exactly why the guard stopped her.

A year later in July 2006, Castellano was charged under her maiden name, Lindsay Doyle, with a misdemeanor count of retail theft in Rock Island County Circuit Court and accused of stealing cosmetics, medication, underwear and sunglasses at Wal-Mart on June 26, 2005.

A Moline police report filed in court claimed the case “fell between the cracks” after store security and police failed to follow up and was brought back to their attention after learning Castellano planned to sue the store.

Castellano did not appear for an August 2006 court hearing and the case is still pending, court officials said. The Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday there is still a warrant out for Castellano’s arrest for failing to appear.

John Simley, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said the company had not been served with a copy of the suit as of Tuesday and he could not comment on something they had not seen.

In the suit, Castellano claimed she explained her emergency to the guard, who still would not allow her to retrieve the juice or candy from her car. Castellano was forced back into the store at 3930 44th Avenue Drive, where about 30 seconds later, she suffered a seizure, the suit added.

After recovering “to an extent” from the seizure, Castellano was taken to a closed private room where she was asked questions and had her property searched, the suit claimed, adding she was then arrested for theft.

According to the report filed with the misdemeanor case, a store security guard watched Castellano starting at 9:45 a.m. and saw her remove tags and remove some items from store packages before placing them in her purse.

Castellano paid $100 for groceries but had another $100 worth of merchandise in her purse, the report claimed.

Castellano was offered treatment from paramedics with the Moline Fire Department and declined, the report added.

After Castellano was questioned, the items were returned to the store and she received credit on her debit card for the items she purchased, the report stated, adding she was then taken to the Rock Island County Jail where she posted bond.

The lawsuit contained multiple counts against Wal-Mart including battery, assault, false imprisonment, false arrest, conversion, harassment, negligent supervision and general negligence. Each count asks for a specific dollar amount in compensation, all totalling $778,800.

She also seeks $150 for the contents of her purse, which she claims the store seized.

The 2005 incident happened within a week of Castellano’s marriage, which she was unable to fully appreciate because of the emotional distress she was suffering at the time, the suit added.

A hearing for the lawsuit is set for Sept. 20.

Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or Comment on this story at

© Copyright 2007, The Quad-City Times, Davenport, IA


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