'Think What We Can Do for You'

     NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (CN) - A Bank of America branch that was evacuated for a bomb threat left an unsuspecting customer in the safe deposit box room, and he emerged to find himself locked in and the bank surrounded by police. He says bank employees laughed at him when he finally got out; he sued the bank for false imprisonment and emotional distress.
     John Caughman says he went to the bank that day to inspect documents in his safe deposit box, and when he was done he walked out into an empty bank. It was surrounded by police and emergency personnel and the doors were locked, according to the Superior Court complaint.
     (One of Bank of America's advertising slogans is "Think What We Can Do for You.")
     Caughman says he called 911 and was told not to touch anything. The operator called back and said there had been a bomb threat.
     "(P)laintiff was locked within the building for a considerable length of time until a police officer opened the front door and brought the plaintiff out of the building," the complaint states.
     Outside, Caughman says, Bank of America's employees taunted him, saying things "such as, 'We left you inside' and 'We forgot you were there' while laughing at the plaintiff."
     The bank had been evacuated because an employee told police there was "a suspicious briefcase upon the premises," the complaint states. So the bank was evacuated and a bomb squad was called.
     But the bank "failed to notify the plaintiff of the threatened danger and evacuation, and as a result, the plaintiff was locked inside the bank building causing him to sustain extreme emotional distress," Caughman says.
     He seeks punitive damages for negligence, false imprisonment and emotional distress, plus costs and medical expenses.He particularly objects that bank employees "ridiculed and taunted plaintiff when they should have known that such behavior would cause emotional distress."
     He is represented by Steven Boa DeMoura with Pinney Payne, of Danbury.