What are the elements of the tort of false imprisonment?
- 1) person acts to intentionally
- 2) confine or restrain another
- 3) to a bounded area
- 4) confinement directly or indirectly results from the act
Can transferred intent apply to false imprisonment?
What does it mean to confine or restrain another? Can it be in the form of a threat (i.e., just words)?
- May be through the use of an item, such as a locked door.
- May be through physical act, such as blocking a door with one's body.
- May be through direct or indirect threat.
- May be through the invalid assertion of legal authority, such as falsely claiming to be a police officer
There must be no REASONABLE means of escape
A shopkeeper may prevent certain people from leaving his store. Who may they do this to and what are the limits to this privilege (the "Shopkeeper's Privilege")?
- May prevent a shoplifter from leaving as long as it is:
- 1) for a reasonable amount of time (can't be indefinite), and
- 2) within a reasonable manner (cannot perform a strip search)
Can the use of moral pressure ("Don't you want to clear your name?") constitute restraint or confinement in determining false imprisonment?
Is length of confinement relevant in determining whether there was false imprisonment?
No. Length comes into play only when determining damages.
Is there false imprisonment where the victim is not aware of the confinement?
Generally no. However, if the victim sustains substantial harm as a result of the confinement, he can claim false imprisonment even if he was never aware of the confinement.
- Example:B gets drunk and passes out. A carries B to a room and locks B in for the duration of A's party. A unlocks the door after the party. B is still passed out in the room. A is not liable for false imprisonment because B was never aware of the confinement.
- B has a seizure and passes out. A carries B to a room and locks B in for the duration of A's party. A unlocks the door after the party. B is still passed out has been substantially harmed by not receiving medical attention. B may bring a suit for false imprisonment against A since B was substantially harmed.
What constitutes a bounded area in determining whether there has been false imprisonment?
Mobility must have been confined in all directions.
There must have been no reasonable means of escape (i.e., one that is dangerous, humiliating, or difficult to discover is NOT reasonable)
Must actual harm be proven in order to prevail on a false imprisonment action?
No, unless the victim was not aware of the confinement.