BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

False imprisonment and negligence charges against Old Navy reinstated

Old Navy

A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated false imprisonment and negligence charges made against Old Navy LLC by a woman who was falsely accused of shoplifting.

Saudia Scott, a Black woman who operates a boutique clothing company that resells clothing bought at retailers including Old Navy, made a trip to stock up on supplies for her business in July 2016, according to the ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, in Saudia Scott v. Old Navy LLC c/o GAP Inc.; GAP Inc. and Jan Doe I, et al.

A store employee became suspicious, in part because Ms. Scott had “grabbed” several dresses of different sizes, and called police and said Ms. Scott “was potentially about to shoplift,” according to the ruling.

After Ms. Scott paid for her merchandise and left the store, two uniformed police officers approached and told her she had been accused of shoplifting.  She returned with them to the store, where the store employee apologized. A police officer escorted Ms. Scott outside about 20 minutes later.

Ms. Scott sued Old Navy and its parent company, San Francisco-based Gap Inc., in April 2018 on charges including false imprisonment and negligence. The U.S. District Court in Baltimore granted Old Navy summary judgment on all of her claims.

A divided appeals court panel reinstated the false imprisonment and negligence charges. 

“The sole bases for its dismissal of Scott’s claims for false imprisonment (that Scott’s movement was not restricted by the police officers) and negligence” — that the store employee had acted reasonably under the circumstances — “properly resolved genuine disputed questions in Old Navy’s favor,” the opinion said.

“While a reasonable jury might not be compelled to find in Scott’s favor on these points … a reasonable jury could find in her favor, if we assume — as we must in this posture  — that it credited her evidence and drew reasonable inferences in her favor,” it said, in vacating the lower court’s summary judgment and remanding the case for further proceedings.

The dissenting opinion said, “While Scott was justifiably upset by the incident — having been investigated for something she didn’t do — Old Navy did not breach a duty recognized by common law, nor is it liable for falsely imprisoning Scott.”

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.