Monday, August 19, 2013

The Top Five: False Imprisonment

The tort of false imprisonment requires an act or omission on the part of defendant that confines plaintiff to a bounded area with intent to confine and causation. The top five things to remember about the tort of false imprisonment for MBE purposes are as follows::

(1): It is irrelevant if the period of confinement is extremely short. The length of confinement may need to be analyzed for another purpose (for example to determine if plaintiff was harmed) but the time, in itself, is not a consideration in the analysis of the tort.

(2): Plaintiff need not know that he/she is confined. But if plaintiff does not know of the confinement then a valid cause of action requires that plaintiff is harmed by the confinement. If plaintiff does know of the confinement, then that alone will suffice, even if the confinement causes no other harm.

(3): Moral pressure and/or future threats are insufficient acts of restraint. In other words, these alone will not provide a basis for a claim of false imprisonment.

(4): Sufficient acts of restraint include the following: physical barriers, physical force (as opposed to future threats of physical force), present threats of force, failure to release plaintiff from a bounded area, and invalid use of legal authority.

(5): For purposes of this tort, a bounded area requires that freedom of movement must be limited in all directions. There must be no reasonable means of escape.

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