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One who enters upon the land of another with the consent of the possessor may, by his subsequent wrongful act in excess or abuse of his authority to enter, become liable in damages as a trespasser.
Defendant mayor, Fred S. Cates, ordered police officers to arrest the plaintiff property owners’ son based on allegations from the mayor's daughter and accompanied the police officers to the property owners' home. The arrest was done without any search warrant or arrest warrant. Plaintiffs instituted an action against defendant for trespass and false imprisonment. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them actual and punitive damages. On appeal, defendant mayor argued that he could not be held liable for trespass or for false arrest and false imprisonment because he and the officers had the implied consent of the property owners to enter their home and because a police officer actually made the arrest. He also argued that the trial court erred in submitting the issue of punitive damages to the jury.
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The court held that the mayor and police officers were liable for trespass because the mayor had conceded that a false arrest occurred at the property owners' house. The court held that the mayor was liable for false arrest and false imprisonment because there was plenary evidence that the police officer arrested the property owners' son at the mayor's request, direction, or command. The award of punitive damages was not an abuse of discretion because the mayor's conduct was sufficiently outrageous to warrant the submission of punitive damages to the jury.