Law School Case Brief
Big Town Nursing Home, Inc. v. Newman - 461 S.W.2d 195 (Tex. Civ. App. 1970)
False imprisonment is the direct restraint by one person of the physical liberty of another without adequate legal justification.
A man was admitted by his nephew into a nursing home. Admittance papers stated that the patient was not to be held against his will. The patient had no history of mental illness. However, the patient was not allowed to leave and was not allowed to make phone calls. Each time he tried to leave he was forcibly returned to nursing home by defendant's staff. The patient filed an action for damages for false imprisonment against the nursing home. The trial court found that the patient was entitled to damages. The case was elevated to the Court of Civil Appeals of Texas,
Was a patient's involuntary return to a nursing home false imprisonment?
The Court held that evidence supported trial court's decision plaintiff was falsely imprisoned. Evidence was likewise sufficient to support plaintiff's claim for exemplary damages. Plaintiff was intentionally held against his will and forced to remain with drug addicts and insane individuals. The court, however, reversed on the ground that the judgment award for damages was excessive.
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