Hardy v. Labelle's Distributing Co.
MT - 1983
- P was an employee of D.
- D falsely accused P of stealing a watch. P was approached by the asst manager who took her to the manager's office under the guise of giving her a tour of the store.
- P denied stealing the watch and took a lie detector test that confirmed.
- P sued D for false imprisonment.
- Trial court found for D since P was not retained against her will.
- MT affirmed, found for D.
- Can a party maintain an action in false imprisonment when no threat of force was used to compel that party to stay against his will?
- A party cannot maintain an action in false imprisonment when no threat of force was used to compel that party to stay against his will.
- Although P testified that she felt compelled to stay, she testified that she also wanted to stay to clarity the matter.
- P was never told that she could not leave.
- P testified that she would have followed the asst manager into the office voluntarily had she known the true purpose of the meeting.
- In order to prove false imprisonment, the P must prove that he was under restraint to stay against his will and that he had not reasonable means of escape.
- A mere obligation to stay, or other mental compulsion, such as fear of losing one's job will not be enough of a restraint to qualify as false imprisonment.
- Restraint may come in many forms…
- Restraint of certain objects belonging to party (purse)
- False imprisonment is like assault in that threats of future action are not enough.