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CVS Subpoenas 13-Year-Old Girl's Diaries in Feminine Hygiene Pad Case

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What happens when a multibillion-dollar company wages legal war against a teenage girl? Her diaries, adorned with Mickey Mouse and Bob Marley, get subpoenaed. And her psychiatric information gets entered -- unredacted -- into the public record.

On Monday, we reported on the evolving craziness that is one Florida girl's lawsuit against CVS. She claims she was physically accosted by an employee in a bathroom of a Pembroke Pines pharmacy and then forced by cops to produce the hygienic pad she was wearing. She was 13 at the time.

We met with the now-15-year-old and her mother Monday morning in her attorney Spencer Aronfeld's Coral Gables office. One weeping breakdown notwithstanding, she told us the story the way she remembered it.

The girl -- who is unnamed here because she's a minor -- was with family when she used the bathroom in the CVS. "I had my pants down already, and I was about to use the restroom," she says. "And I felt somebody was peeking through. They asked, 'What are you doing?' I didn't answer because I was scared."

When she emerged from the stall, the girl says, employee Lisa Conteh grabbed her. The teen burst out of the bathroom and ran toward her mother, screaming, "There was somebody touching me!"

When her mother encountered Conteh in the bathroom, the CVS employee was irate: "Your daughter was stealing! She's a thief!" She accused the girl of stealing a feminine pad.

Her family called 911. But when two male cops arrived, they appeared to listen only to the CVS employee's story. The girl's mom says she tried to get them to watch the surveillance video, but the officers refused, arguing that it would confirm the theft and force them to arrest her. "If I look at the video," one of the officers allegedly said, "she's going to jail."

That's when, the girl claims, one of the cops told her to go into the bathroom and remove her pad to see if it matched the brand of an open box Conteh had found on the shelves.

"We have to do this," the mom told her daughter. "If you don't do this, you could be arrested."

When the girl emerged with her pad, the police seemed to have lost interest in checking it out.

The claim, relayed by several news outlets, that Conteh was the one who forced her to show her pad was the focal point of a heated recent deposition of the girl. That claim wasn't in the legal complaint. It appears it came from Aronfeld in the early days of the suit. "If anything," he says, "that was my misunderstanding."

In his police report, Officer Thomas Burgs makes no mention of having the girl show her pad. "[The girl] insisted that she had not concealed the item," he wrote. "However, several packages of feminine products were found open on the shelves of the store."

A Pembroke Pines police media relations specialist had no comment when asked about this incident.

To placate the police and CVS manager, mother and daughter bought a small package of feminine pads. The girl claims the episode has left her distrustful of police.

"The school always goes, 'You should trust the police if you need help,'" she says. "I doubt that. The police didn't protect us."

The lawsuit has gotten exceedingly ugly. CVS filed psychiatric notes concerning the girl in the public record, without redacting her name. And the company has subpoenaed her diaries. (We're still waiting to hear back from CVS and Conteh's attorney in the case, Aleida Mielke.)

"It's just so invasive," Aronfeld says of CVS's tactics. "I don't know a lot of kids that could weather this storm. This is a billion-dollar corporation that is clearly going after her jugular."

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18 comments
beercrabs
beercrabs

 I cannot believe this is happening over a sanitary napkin...what has happened to people's minds? more importantly, have we lost all our rights?

CVS needs their clocks cleaned.....

Aztek1123
Aztek1123

This is just another example of how the info being collected by video surveillance is misused and the might of the corporation outweighs ALL civil libertys,I would have tossed the bloody pad right in the assholes face! what is the world coming too when a child can have her rights violated so publicly,.What shrink wold release her UNREDACTED pt chart.Where was Hippa? Sue then all !

Figgy Jones
Figgy Jones

Good freaking lord...take the girl to a nice restaurant or hotel, where they have reams of feminine hygiene products, offered for free, in the bathrooms.

Learn a page from that book, CVS! Don't you make enough off, say, Viagra????

Rahalt
Rahalt

The Parent was present but also refuses to do the right thing and teach her daughter not to steal.  If the parent would have acted like a parent this would have ended that day.  If some one steals your stuff, and you see them do it on tape, then continuously denies that they did what you saw them do, you are going to get a case of maximum prosecution or deserved persecution, howerver you want it.

InterestedC
InterestedC

If we all only understood how we are giving our rights away... to corporations, and their money, because we mistakenly think it is capitalism. It is not. It is Corporatism we are practicing right now and until we go back to studying Civics and history we are in serious danger of losing our precious democracy. Thank goodness for a judicial system... let's just hope this one isn't paid off.

HelpFindLily
HelpFindLily

Unfukenbelievable!! What proof did they have???

bsmith
bsmith

What??? You have a warped sense of enttitlement. You have no sense of justcie. You say "have we lost all our rights?" So we have the right to steal from CVS? Or maybe if it's under a certain price we can steal it?  You say that you cannot believe this is happening over a sanitary napkin So we have the right to open a box and take a single sanitary napkin even if it makes the rest of the box unsellable? I'm sick & tired of thievery and the sense of entitlement that's so prevalent. If that girl is guilty, then she needs to be punished to a degree that will teach her not to be a thief.

 

Last night outside CVS in Hinesvelle, GA, somebody walked off with my toolbag (was working on a machine outside the store). The toolbag had two thumbdrives with expensive, irreplaceable software on it. Without the toolbag, I couldn't finish my job, and I'm not from the area. I went in CVS and told the manager. She immediately checked the outiside camera and saw a man pick my bag up and walk off with it.

She then saw him go into the store. She then checked an inside camera and saw him at the pharmacy. Long story short: got his name. Called the cops. Cop went directly to his house and got my bag back. I love the cameras. I don't fear or resent them.

 

So you think that man that stole my bag lost his rights? If so, you're a warped-in-the-head, brain-fried hippie Liberal who thinks we ought to be entitled to take what we want off CVS shelves without having them violate our right to do so by recording the act.

bsmith
bsmith

God, this world is getting more & more warped everyday. How is "the info being collected by video surveillance" being misused? Corporations lose billions to thievery and honest people pay for it. Children grow up now thinking they have the right to take what they want. I love the cameras. If the girl is guilty, then punish her severely. I bet you'd look at it differently if you owned CVS and were aware of how the products on your shelves were ripped off.

 

bsmith
bsmith

What an idiot you are. Your comment doesn't even make sense. Who is if that you are instructing to "take the girl to a nice restaurant or hotel"? CVS? The gril's mother?

 

"Learn a page from that book": Are you saying CVS should provide such items in its bathrooms? If so, then you're clueless. Nice restaurants & hotels sell big-dollar items & services. Providing such items as sanitary napkins is covered in the cost of the expensive meal or stay at the hotel. CVS is a retail store who can't provide such; the cost of such items is not included in the price of the items CVS has for sale. Besides, people off the street can't walk into nice restaurants & hotels and use up all the free stuff in the restrooms, but they can at CVS.

 

The amount that CVS makes off Viagra has absolutely nothing to do with this. CVS can charge whatever it wants for Viagra and you can choose to buy it or not. The fact that CVS migtht make a profit on Viagra doesn't give anybody the right to steal a sanitary napkin from it.

 

You must be one of those entitlement-minded Liberals

bsmith
bsmith

Amen! Finally, somebody with a sense of justice.

 

Last night outside CVS in Hinesville, GA, somebody walked off with my toolbag (was working on a machine outside the store). The toolbag had two thumbdrives with expensive, irreplaceable software on it. Without the toolbag, I couldn't finish my job, and I'm not from the area. I went in CVS and told the manager. She immediately checked the outiside camera and saw a man pick my bag up and walk off with it.

She then saw him go into the store. She then checked an inside camera and saw him at the pharmacy. Long story short: got his name. Called the cops. Cop went directly to his house and got my bag back. I love the cameras. I don't fear or resent them.

 

A lot of young people (and old ones) think they're entitled to take whatever they want - that the world owes them. CVS sees constant thievery and disrepect of its property. I think they need more cameras. I don't fear them because I'm not going to steal from them. And if I had a child who stole from them, I'd let CVS punish that child however it wanted.

ScottB
ScottB

The kid didn't steal, the store refused to show proof on tape because they new it didn't exist.The peeping tom should be arrested just for peeping at a minor!

Rahalt
Rahalt

Which constitutional amendment protects the right of every American to steal as they see fit ???

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

not really unbelievable, this happens all the time with food at grocery stores. Ever see the person wandering around and eating product ? Some finish and leave the empty on a shelf. And in this case, plenty of open boxes of product.

Nyflva1
Nyflva1

You read the article...they have surveillance video, that's why they're so adamant about the case. No one goes after a kid for stealing a pad. It's all about the company's reputation.

bsmith
bsmith

So you know the kid didn't steal? Wow, you've got it all figured it out. How can your brain provide with you extra sensory perception when it can't even move you to spell "knew"; you spelled it "new".

bsmith
bsmith

Let me know when you get the answer. I've got lots of books on the constitution and I haven't found that amendment.

 

There must be one, though, because thievery is rampant - not only at CVS, but virtually everywhere.

GusGarciaRoberts
GusGarciaRoberts

Actually, according to Aronfeld the company refuses to produce surveillance video. It may have been destroyed, or it may contradict CVS's claims. 

Anda-ja
Anda-ja

Maybe the video cam got bloody hell and their too embarrassed to display it!

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