Man Who Sued Costco After Altercation Led To Broken Leg Loses Case

Last September, a man in Oregon filed a $670,000 lawsuit against Costco claiming that a receipt-checking dispute left him with a broken leg. This week, a jury refused to award the man damages in the case. 

The Oregonian reports that after a four-day trial, a Portland jury refused to award the 38-year-old man any part of the $110,000 for medical bills and lost wages and $500,000 for pain and suffering the complaint sought.

The lawsuit involved a January 2013 incident in which the Portland man refused to stop and show his receipt after making purchases worth $102.66 at the wholesaler.

It was previously reported that the man claimed he didn’t stop because he doesn’t believe the store’s employees had the right to detain him based on Costco’s receipt-checking policy, despite the fact that the company’s membership agreement – which he had signed – includes a provision on receipt-checks.

However, the Oregonian reported Friday that the man told the jury he had always previously shown his receipt, but on the day in question he didn’t because the employee’s back was turned to him.

When the man was approached just minutes later by the employee, he says he was ordered to go back inside the store. He told the jury that he repeatedly tried to show his receipt.

“I had my receipt in my hand and said, ‘Here it was, OK?’ And he didn’t care,'” the man recounted. “He’s still saying, ‘It doesn’t matter, we still have to go inside.’ … He’s acting like he’s going to haul me back inside. I didn’t understand. … I’m yelling ‘Somebody get a manager! Somebody call police!'”

The employee’s account of the situation mirrors that previously described in the lawsuit.

According to that account, the employee grabbed the man’s cart, preventing him from leaving when he refused to show the receipt.

When the employee wouldn’t let go of the cart the man allegedly grabbed him by the shirt collar and physically moved the employee away.

That’s when, according to the suit, another employee used a “martial arts type strike with his leg,” that led to the broken bones.

A lawyer representing the man told jurors that he made a “bad decision” to push the first employee, but that the second employee used too much force.

The manager for the store where the incident happened told the jury the company has always abided by a receipt-checking policy as a way to make sure customers aren’t overcharged or to stop shoplifting.

“It’s very important,” he said. “… Costco has one of the lowest shrinks in the industry, which is loss of product. And I think it’s in large part because of how we perform our checkout procedures.”

In the end, the jury deliberated for two hours before deciding 9-3 that the man was not unlawfully restrained by the employee. While the jury found 12-0 that the employee’s use of martial arts was considered battery, that the use of force was justified.

Costco shopper who broke leg after shoving receipt checker loses lawsuit seeking $610,000 [The Oregonian]