Kenneth W. Golish, B.A., LL.B., J.D.


Scotiabank Building
38O Ouellette Avenue
Letter sent to law firm in Toronto, for which no response received
Question and Answer 991
Letter from Law Firm
Suite 3O5
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 6X5

Telephone: 519 - 252 - 7867
Fax: 519 - 252 - 8652

Thursday, March 2, 2000

--Toronto law firm--
Toronto, Ont.

Dear Sir:

Re: Demand for payment of $325 - Shoplifting allegation

A client of mine received a letter for --------. from you demanding the payment of $325 as settlement for an alleged shoplifting incident.  Windsor Police had already charged my client with theft and the matter concluded without trial. This client's letter was not the first such letter I have seen.  I therefore suspect that your firm has sent out hundreds, all to the same effect.

I have reviewed Hudson's Bay Co. v. White (1997), 32 C.C.L.T. (2d) 163, 7 C.P.C. (4th) 109, 22 O.T.C. 366 (Ont. Gen. Div.)  You mentioned that case in your letter, apparently as authority for the demand.  I understand Hudson's Bay Co. v. White to stand for the proposition that the expense of a retail outlet's loss management program is not recoverable from individuals actually caught stealing.  A court award would be limited to a nominal amount where goods are recovered and undamaged. In Hudson's Bay Co. v. White the award was $100 where the alleged value of the goods was $200 and where the store began no criminal proceedings.  Perhaps had proceedings been instituted, the amount would be less.

In the circumstances, I am at a loss to understand how you can properly demand an amount clearly not authorized by law.  Therefore, it appears to me that, notwithstanding your stated intention to bring proceedings against my client, no such intention exists.  Of course, if I am wrong, you can send me verifiable statistics, showing the number of proceedings commenced and actual court awards your client has obtained on these claims.  If not, I am going to advise my client to do nothing or pay no more than a nominal amount.

Sincerely yours,

        "Kenneth Golish"

Kenneth W. Golish

Admitted to pratice in Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia"