Kanawha County couple sues Wal-Mart - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Kanawha County couple sues, claims Wal-Mart employees falsely accused them of theft

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A Kanawha County couple claiming they were detained for more than an hour after employees at the Wal-Mart store in South Charleston falsely accused them of stealing is suing the retail giant.

Shelly and Terry Cook said they had paid for their purchases and were leaving the store in January 2013 when Wal-Mart employee Rudy Anthony and a coworker "yelled profanities at (them), accused them of theft and demanded police arrest them for shoplifting," insisting that they be handcuffed and detained.

The suit, originally filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court in March, claims the Cooks were detained about an hour before they were able to prove they had paid for all of the items in their possession. They also allege Wal-Mart refused to provide them with a copy of video surveillance tapes from the day of the incident.

It accuses the retailer of negligence, intentional infliction of injury, spoliation of evidence and "intentional, willful, wanton and reckless disregard for the safety and civil rights" of the couple.

Wal-Mart, which petitioned to move the case to U.S. District Court in Charleston, has denied wrongdoing and asked the court to dismiss the suit.

The Cooks, represented by Charleston attorney Michael J. Del Giudice of Ciccarello, Del Giudice & Lafon, are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for emotional distress, medical bills, attorney fees and court costs.