It’s a story that sounds too odd to be true, but a judge in Brownsville, Texas, has filed a lawsuit against his local Sam’s Club, the store’s manager and the store’s parent company Walmart Stores Inc., alleging that a bad customer service experience led to his arrest and involuntary commitment to two mental health facilities.
According to the lawsuit, the 46-year-old plaintiff, a municipal judge with 8 years on the bench and 17 years in law, went to purchase some diamond earrings for his wife at Sam’s Club. He claims that the Sam’s employees questioned his purchase of the pricey earrings and a verbal dispute began, ultimately leading to his arrest and confinement in a mental health facility.
The judge was released after two weeks when a court deemed him harmless to himself and others. But only a few days later, after displaying worrisome behavior his friends and family had him hospitalized at a second facility, where he received court-ordered treatment and has since been released.
In the lawsuit, he accuses the Sam’s Club, et al, of making a “false report to the Brownsville Police Department alleging [he] was guilty of disorderly conduct and terroristic threats.”
Among the allegations made by the plaintiff, who has been diagnosed as bipolar, against the store “include, but are not limited to, negligence, gross negligence, false imprisonment, defamation, malicious prosecution.”
The Sam’s Club manager named in the suit told reporters he did not remember the dispute and was not aware that a lawsuit had been filed against him.
Speaking to the press about his lawsuit, the judge said, “Now Sam’s will learn something about customer service and the First Amendment.”
Municipal Judge Phil Bellamy files another lawsuit [Brownsville Herald]