LAW 511-002 – Torts I

False Imprisonment


False imprisonment is:

  1. intentionally
  2. confining or restraining another
  3. in a bounded area, and
    • not a bounded area if there is a reasonable means of escape
      • Must be apparent or known
      • Can't involve exposure or danger to clothes, self, or others
  4. plaintiff is aware of the confinement.
    • or harmed under Restatement of Torts

The individual may be restrained by force or threat of force. Moral persuasion does not constitute force or threat of force.

Conviction of the crime arrested for is a defense for false imprisonment.

Private citizens can legally detain others. They are only liable for helping police if it is not requested.

Shopkeeper's Privilege

A shopkeeper has the privilege to detain a person for a reasonable investigation when he reasonably believes that person has shoplifted.

A investigation's reasonableness is determined by whether it was inside or outside, how long it lasted, and what the shopkeeper did to investigate.

The majority rule says that a shopkeeper cannot condition release on confession to the crime or payment.

Reasonable force, short of bodily harm, may be used to detain the suspected shoplifter.