Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Oregon

Mandatory search of bags at exit of retail stores.

Can retail stores such as Fry's Electronics, BestBuy and Costco require all customers to submit to a bag search before exiting? If I show my receipt, but keep walking and refuse search of my bag, can they legally stop me? Can they legally refuse to serve me in the future because of this? In the case of Costco (a membership organization)can they legally revoke my membership card because of standing up for my constitutional rights?

Thanks for your help.

Asked on 8/04/01, 4:25 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Daniel Meek Daniel W. Meek

Re: Mandatory search of bags at exit of retail stores.

There was a lawsuit against Fred Meyer recently, based on the fact that store personnel would stop people who had already left the store and were in the parking lot. The store personnel would insist that the shopper return to the store and be searched. The lawsuit produced little or nothing in the way of compensation for people who were treated to this, which is worse than how you were treated at Costco and Fry's.

Do you have a constitutional right to be free of a search for merchandise in a store? Maybe, but you will also need to have a jury decide that you were somehow significantly injured in order to get enough money out of a lawsuit to pay the lawyer.

One lawyer who has handled cases like this is Greg Kafoury at 503-224-2647. He may or may not be willing to do any more of them, without non-contingent payment.

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Answered on 8/07/01, 3:43 am

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