A store manager had repeatedly warned Erwin Lingitz, 68, of Gem Lake, not to hog free samples, the newspaper says. Supervalu says Lingitz was scolded at one point for filling up produce bags with up to 20 cookies from a "kids' cookie club tray."
Lingitz sued in U.S. District Court last month, arguing that he stopped at a display offering free samples of lunch meat and helped himself in April 2010. He argues he was roughed up and his civil rights were violated by a security guard and then sheriff's deputies after he was accused of hoarding too many lunch meat samples. He was arrested and charged, the Pioneer Press reports.
A store spokesperson had said said Lingitz violated "societal norms" in taking too many samples.
Supervalu is also arguing that it should not even be a defendant in the case because it does not own the store, which is owned by Kowalski Cos., which runs it "under the Cub Foods name as a franchisee of Supervalu," according to a Supervalu lawyer.