Bank Employee Wasn’t|Defamed by Theft Charge

     (CN) – A bank employee was not defamed when she was arrested for allegedly stealing $5,000 from the bank, a Louisiana appeals court ruled.




     Jacqueline Cook was an assistant branch manager at American Gateway Bank in Port Allen, La.
     She was sent home after her drawer was found to be $5,000 short and was later fired. According to bank policy, employees can be fired for shortages of more than $400. The bank also reported the shortage to the police, following its policy of reporting missing funds of $1,500 or more.
     Detective Eric Frank spoke to bank manager Glen Daigle and other employees. He decided there was probable cause to arrest Cook, who was charged with felony theft.
     Cook fought back in civil court, suing Daigle and the bank for defamation, negligent misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     She insisted that she never stole or misplaced the $5,000.
     The trial court dismissed Cook’s case, and Judge Edward “Jimmy” Gaidry of the Baton Rouge-based First District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.
     “Significantly, plaintiff’s primary argument is that in their written statements provided to Detective Frank, (the bank employees) ‘snidely … implicated thievery to the plaintiff, without coming right out and saying so.’ Those purported implicit accusations of theft are unidentified, and based on our review of the record, unproven,” Gaidry wrote.

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