Retail theft; civil liability. 943.51(1)
Any person who incurs injury to his or her business or property as a result of a violation of s. 943.50
may bring a civil action against any individual who caused the loss for all of the following:
The retail value of the merchandise unless it is returned undamaged and unused. A person may recover under this paragraph only if he or she exercises due diligence in demanding the return of the merchandise immediately after he or she discovers the loss and the identity of the person who has the merchandise.
The retail value of the service provided by a service provider, as defined in s. 943.50 (1) (am)
. A person may recover under this paragraph only if he or she exercises due diligence in demanding payment for the service.
In addition to sub. (1)
, if the person who incurs the loss prevails, the judgment in the action may grant any of the following:
Except as provided in subd. 1m.
, exemplary damages of not more than 3 times the amount under sub. (1)
If the action is brought against a minor or against the parent who has custody of their minor child for the loss caused by the minor, the exemplary damages may not exceed 2 times the amount under sub. (1)
No additional proof is required for an award of exemplary damages under this paragraph.
Notwithstanding the limitations of s. 799.25
, all actual costs of the action, including reasonable attorney fees.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
and except as provided in sub. (3m)
, the total amount awarded for exemplary damages and reasonable attorney fees may not exceed $500 for each violation.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, the total amount awarded for exemplary damages and reasonable attorney fees may not exceed $300 for each violation if the action is brought against a minor or against the parent who has custody of their minor child for the loss caused by the minor.
Any recovery under this section shall be reduced by the amount recovered as restitution for the same act under ss. 800.093
or as recompense under s. 969.13 (5) (a)
for the same act.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred under s. 943.50
. A conviction under s. 943.50
is not a condition precedent to bringing an action, obtaining a judgment or collecting that judgment under this section.
A person is not criminally liable under s. 943.30
for any civil action brought in good faith under this section.
Nothing in this section precludes a plaintiff from bringing the action under ch. 799
if the amount claimed is within the jurisdictional limits of s. 799.01 (1) (d)
Employee salary for time spent processing retail theft is compensable as "actual damages" under sub. (1) (b). Shopko Stores, Inc. v. Kujak, 147 Wis. 2d 589
, 433 N.W.2d 618
(Ct. App. 1988).