This is one of those things that make me personally get nervous because I’m not gone lie I go collect samples like its all meant specifically for ME. But damn you know its REAL when granddaddy’s are getting arrested for taking too many samples.
And the granddaddy is getting back at the store by suing them for arresting him. Check this out the store is saying that the man had been warned before by store managers that he was helping himself to too many free samples.
Among the things a store manager had scolded Erwin Lingitz about: He had filled produce bags with up to 20 cookies from the “kids’ cookie club tray,” defendant Supervalu Inc. claims in its answer to the Gem Lake man’s federal lawsuit.
Lingitz is suing Supervalu, Ramsey County, its sheriff’s office, three deputies and a private security company over an April 2010 incident at a Cub Foods in White Bear Township.
The 68-year-old former laboratory machinist claims he was roughed up and his civil rights were violated by a security guard and then sheriff’s deputies after he was confronted and accused of helping himself to too many free samples of lunch meat.
But in an answer to Lingitz’s suit, Supervalu attorney Robyn Johnson says the company shouldn’t even be a defendant because it doesn’t own the supermarket in question.
The supermarket is owned by Kowalski Cos., which runs it “under the Cub Foods name as a franchisee of Supervalu,” Johnson wrote in the reply. As such, she said, there’s no reason Supervalu should be named as a defendant.
Jeff Swanson, a spokesman for Supervalu, said 67 supermarkets carry the Cub Food name and 44 of them are owned by Supervalu. The remainder, including the store in White Bear Township, are franchise stores. Lingitz, 68, sued in U.S. District Court last month, claiming that when he went into the Cub supermarket on Meadowlands Drive to pick up a prescription, he stopped at a display offering free samples of lunch meat and helped himself.
He claims Cub employees told him he could take some to his wife, who was waiting in the couple’s car.
As he left, a security guard confronted him; Lingitz protested and the fracas escalated. He eventually was arrested and jailed.
After the suit was filed, a spokesman for Supervalu said Lingitz violated “societal norms” by taking more than customers are expected to. In her answer, Johnson inventoried what she claims deputies found in the man’s pockets after he was handcuffed.
“Plaintiff had approximately 14-16 packets of soy sauce along with one plastic produce bag containing 0.61 pounds for (sic) summer sausage and another plastic produce bag containing 0.85 pounds of beef stick in his pockets,” she wrote. “Near the end of aisle 10 on the day in question, Cub Foods had two un-hosted sample platters, one containing beef stick and one containing summer sausage.”
The lawyer wrote that Frank Patterson, a security guard for Twin City Lawmen Inc., which handles security at the store, saw Lingitz “putting items in his pockets,” followed him out of the store and asked him to remove the items from his pockets. Lingitz refused.
The store’s general manager “repeatedly asked plaintiff just to remove the items from his pockets and plaintiff refused,” Johnson wrote.
Robert Gardner, the attorney representing Lingitz, did not immediately return a call for comment.
In her answer, Johnson wrote that store personnel had spoken to Lingitz “at various times,” and that Steve Martin, a weekend manager, had seen the man “taking excessive amounts of food from various un-hosted sample platters and from the store’s cookie club for kids.”
“On these occasions, Mr. Martin observed plaintiff filling plastic produce bags with the samples or with 10-20 cookies from the kids’ cookie club tray, which specifically limits the offer to one free cookie per child,” Supervalu’s response says.
“Mr. Martin told plaintiff that the samples were for everyone, that only one or two should be taken, that plaintiff should not fill bags with samples in the future and that the cookie club was for children only,” Johnson wrote.
The company also denied “that store personnel regularly solicited plaintiff to take multiple samples.”
In its answer, Ramsey County said Deputy Daniel Eggers used appropriate force when he arrived at the store and took Lingitz into custody.
Eggers was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked squad car, but identified himself to Lingitz as a deputy and showed his badge, Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Robert Roche wrote in the county’s answer to the suit.
Roche said that Eggers handcuffed Lingitz’s left wrist, but that the man became uncooperative when Eggers went to put the cuffs on the other wrist.
“As a result, plaintiff had a handcuff secured on his left wrist with the other cuff hanging loose and open, presenting a safety threat,” Roche wrote. Eggers used “reasonable and lawful force to gain control” over the man, he said.
In an interview at the time he filed the suit, Gardner said the force used against his client was unnecessary because he wasn’t engaged in a felony. “The situation, even under a worst-case scenario, didn’t rise to the level of a need for this kind of force,” the attorney said.
Lingitz claimed in his suit that Eggers and others contrived their stories. He said he feared he was having a heart attack, and he was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment and then booked into the Ramsey County jail.
On April 26, 2010, two days after the incident, Lingitz was charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with the officers and shoplifting.
A judge continued Lingitz’s criminal case for dismissal in February 2011. Under terms of the agreement, if he remained law-abiding for a year, the charges would be dismissed. They were dismissed last year.