Civil Recovery Demands

 

 

 

We help those being bullied for petty theft

This article is about shoplifting and the "Civil Recovery Demands" aftermath. I do not approve of shoplifting, but I also understand that human beings are what they are and we all will make mistakes. No need to make a mountain out of a molehill.

However, to demand a huge payment for "Civil Recovery" and threatening to sue is simply wrong. I have acted for clients who accidentally walked out of the store with a small item worth a few dollars. They were placed under arrest, the item was returned to the store and the police was called. The police declined to charge for such a small amount but a few weeks later my client would receive a demand letter for as much as $800 to offset the cost of this 'Arrest' and "investigation" and were threatened with a law suit if they did not pay up.

There are a few lawyers in Ontario who engage in this practice. They harass people across Canada. They have an arrangement with a store to pursue any shoplifters caught for any shoplifting, whether criminally convicted or not. This is usually done on a split-recovery basis. In other words, the lawyer gets to keep part of the money, the store gets to keep the rest. One little twist is that the favourite target of these stores and lawyers is the new immigrant preferably from countries with a very oppressive regime, or a student on a visa or a housewife who would be too embarrassed to tell her husband. In other words, vulnerable minorities who are afraid of authority figures. People who do not know how to defend themselves.

As a lawyer I am offended that another lawyer would engage in such practices, but that is between that lawyer and his sense of ethics. It should be clearly understood that they have no "Cause of Action" (that is, 'No Basis') for a law suit, but that does not stop them. Many people pay up because they are terrified of getting a lawyer's letter. As one Canadian Ethics Professor has referred to it: "It is extortion by letterhead".

I am unable to stop that practice, so I have decided to help the public for a very nominal fee. So far (March 19, 2013) I have helped about 200 people with a 100% success rate. If you want me to help you, please read the attached document: "What to do when you receive a Civil Recovery Demand".