“De minimis non curat lex” – the law does not concern itself with trifles – except, of course, when it does.
According to a complaint filed earlier this year in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division, Wael Eldadah, who worked in the convenience store of a BP gas station in the West Lawn neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, signed a criminal complaint against Walter Williams for taking a Snickers candy bar from the store without paying for it. As a result of the criminal complaint, Williams was arrested and incarcerated for minor retail theft, although the charge was dropped and the case dismissed within ten days of being brought.
Having suffered “embarrassment, humiliation, stress, anxiety, and depression” as well as the temporary loss of his freedom and “great damage to his reputation,” according to the complaint, Williams has now sued Eldadah and – because Eldadah signed the criminal complaint as “Agent for BP Gas Station” – British Petroleum, for “malicious prosecution.”
The complaint seeks in excess of $50,000 against each defendant, including punitive damages, the costs of the action, and “whatever other relief” the court deems just.
How about a free candy bar instead?
The case is Walter Williams v. Wael Eldadah and British Petroleum, No. 2013 L 3093, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, County Department, Law Division.
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