A former Albertons grocery store employee alleges she was wrongly fired and jailed after a security guard lied to police about her winning an in-house, employee-only lottery ticket, according to a federal lawsuit.
Pariza Doucette claims she won a $1,000 gift card on a scratch-off ticket Aug. 8, 2011, in a game the company was running for employees. But instead of getting the money, security guard Joseph Mandarine held her against her will and accused her of cheating, according to the lawsuit. Mandarine reportedly believed Doucette had altered the ticket.
Mandarine then allegedly called Key West police, who charged Doucette with grand theft and took her to jail, she says. She was subsequently fired, according to the 12-page lawsuit filed on Jan. 7.
Doucette states in her complaint that she worked at the grocery store at $13 an hour from January to Aug. 19, 2011. Total loss of pay plus benefits is no less than $78,223, the lawsuit says.
Though the suit claims Doucette was arrested and charged with theft, there is no record of her arrest or the charges, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Clerk of Court records.
In all, Doucette is claiming the Idaho-based Albertsons falsely imprisoned her, filed a false police report, intentionally inflicted emotional distress and unjustly kept the prize money, according to the lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez has been assigned to the case. As of Wednesday, a trial date had not been set. It will be held at the U.S. Sidney M. Aronovitz Courthouse, 301 Simonton St.
Albertsons spokeswoman Christine Wilcox told the The Citizen in an email the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Miami-based attorney Natalie Norfus is representing Doucette. She did not return phone messages seeking comment.