Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
In order to constitute an unlawful imprisonment, where no force or violence is actually employed, the submission of the plaintiff must be to a reasonably apprehended force. The circumstances merely that one considers himself restrained in his person is not sufficient to constitute false imprisonment unless it is shown that there was a reasonable ground to have believed defendant would resort to force if plaintiff attempted to assert her right to freedom. On the other hand, submission to the mere verbal direction of another, unaccompanied by force or by threats of any character, cannot constitute a false imprisonment. There is no false imprisonment where an employer interviewing an employee declines to terminate the interview if no force or threat of force is used. False imprisonment may not be predicated on a person's unfounded belief that he was restrained against his will.
Plaintiff employee, Charlotte Anne Newsom, filed an action against the employer and the two security guards, alleging that she was accused by the security guards of stealing money from the employer and that she was held in the security office against her will. The employee claimed that the security guards told her that they would not report her if she would pay them a small amount of money. The employee's claim alleged extortion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment. The lower court granted a directed verdict in favor of the employer and the security guards. Plaintiff appealed.
Did the plaintiff’s proof rise to the level of creating a jury question as to whether defendants restrained her?
On appeal, the court first noted that plaintiff did not address the trial court's action as to the claims of intentional infliction of emotional and mental distress and extortion, either in the way of a specific issue or in the argument portions; accordingly, they were considered as waived. As to the false imprisonment claims, the court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, holding that there was no evidence of false imprisonment, and that the employee's feelings of being mentally restrained were not enough to constitute false imprisonment. The employee was merely questioned about a possible theft and she was free to leave the office at any time.