(a)(1) Before a civil action may be commenced, the merchants may send a notice to the defendant‘s last known address requesting that the defendant or the parent/guardian of a minor if the defendant is a minor make payment of the sums listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section within 20 days of the date of the letter. It is not a condition precedent to maintaining an action under this section that the defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or theft or that a police report has been filed.
(2) No civil action under this section may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise where the merchandise was not recovered in its original condition, plus a penalty in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise or $150, whichever is greater, within 20 days of the date of the initial demand letter. If the merchandise is recovered in merchantable condition, no civil action under this section may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise attempted to be taken or $150, whichever is greater, within 20 days of the date of the initial demand letter. Should the defendant fail to respond in a timely manner as described above, the merchant may request reasonable attorneys’ fees in addition to the amounts described above and shall be entitled to recover costs of suit and reasonable attorneys’ fees upon filing of an action.
Terms Used In Delaware Code Title 10 Sec. 8143
- Child: means a person who has not reached the age of 18 years. See Delaware Code Title 6 Sec. 4307
- Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
- minor child: means a person who has not reached the age of 18 years. See Delaware Code Title 6 Sec. 4307
- Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
(b) If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 20 days of the date of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of shoplifting or theft.
(c) Parents or legal guardians of an unemancipated minor who triggers the liability portion of this section shall be jointly and severally liable civilly to the merchant. For purposes of this subsection, liability shall not be imposed upon any governmental entity or foster parents assigned responsibility for the minor child pursuant to a court order or action of any governmental agency.