The former Bradford City Police officer who lost his job for allegedly shoplifting at Walmart — charges he was acquitted of — has filed a federal negligence lawsuit against the retail giant in federal court in Erie.
Shayne Miller is suing Walmart Stores Inc. for an alleged incident earlier this year in which he claimed the self-checkout station didn’t alert him when it failed to scan items. He was subsequently charged with — and acquitted of — shoplifting.
According to the lawsuit, on April 21 and 26, Miller was shopping at Walmart, and used the self-checkout lane. Both times, he attempted to purchase Smithfield pork chops, but according to the lawsuit, scanned the wrong bar code on the product. The code didn’t scan correctly, but Miller claims he was not notified by the register or by the designated employee at the self-checkout stations that the items didn’t scan.
Instead, the employee allowed him to finish, pay for the items that did scan and leave the store, and then notified the store’s loss prevention department, the suit alleged. Miller allegedly was not notified about the allegations against him until he was called in to meet with his boss, Police Chief Chris Lucco.
“Walmart set into motion a chain of events which gave the City of Bradford a pretext to wrongfully terminate Mr. Miller and turn his world upside down,” attorney John Mizner told The Era. “Walmart has undertaken a responsibility to assist its customers at the checkout register, and its failure in this instance to assist Mr. Miller is a most serious matter, and Walmart must be held accountable.
“It is hard to comprehend how an employee who is responsible for assisting customers at the checkout, can watch a customer have difficulty using the checkout, but rather than assist him, wait until he walked out the store and then report him for shoplifting,” the attorney added.
Attempts to reach a Walmart spokesperson for comment were unsuccessful.
In the suit, Mizner spelled out what he called a duty to assist customers who may be experiencing difficulty at the self checkout.
“The importance of this duty cannot be overstated given the great risk to the customer if accused of shoplifting,” the attorney wrote in the suit.
As a result of Walmart’s “breach of duty,” Miller was charged with shoplifting, fired from his position of police officer, lost his pension and his “good name and reputation in his hometown of Bradford,” the suit states.
The lawsuit asked for judgment in Miller’s favor, as well as “an amount in excess of $75,000,” along with any other relief allowed by law.
Miller has also filed suit against the City of Bradford, Lucco and Mayor Tom Riel.
Original Article By: Madeleine O’Neill can be reached at 870-1728 or by email. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNoneill.