H&M Stores In Hot Water: To Pay Black Woman For Battery, False Arrest and More
Moaning and her attorneys picture courtesy of the Oregonian
A jury determined mega-retailer H&M to fork over $105,000 after falsely accusing a 50 year-old Black woman of shoplifting.
The drama started back in May 2011 when Brenda Moaning was shopping at an Oregon H&M store. She picked up several items, one of which she liked so much she decided to purchase two. The cashier rang Moaning up for two $5 cardigans and instructed her to simply pick up the second on her way out of the store.
Surveillance pic courtesy of KOIN 6
Surveillance from the store shows Moaning following the clerks instructions. She took the cardigan off the hanger, walked within feet of the cashier, who then nodded and Moaning put the item in her bag.
That’s when the shopper was approached by a loss-prevention officer who instructed her to follow him. She was taken to a room and then interrogated for sixteen minutes, a period of time the security officers claim was legitimate since Moaning had several receipts from new purchases, exchanges and returns she made at the store, which had recently celebrated its grand opening.
During her testimony before Multnomah County Circuit Court, Moaning says security had no reason to treat her like a criminal and even claimed security said she looked like “a common thief.”
During her five-day trial she made claims as defense also stated theirs, saying they were following routine procedure.
The jury sided with Moaning saying H&M security, and the grandmother was awarded over $100,000 for battery, false arrest and punitive damages.
Moaning’s attorney said he’s happy his client was vindicated, “The ugliest part of the case is they made up a story and fed it to their employees that she was yelling, cursing, swearing and threatening lawsuits and the jury didn’t believe a word of it.”
H&M released a statement saying, “We apologize for all the inconvenience we caused the customer. We have full respect for the judicial process; this case has now been settled and we have no further comment.”