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Law School Case Brief

Stoffel v. Big Bear Stores Co. - No. 90 CA 21, 1991 Ohio App. LEXIS 2668 (Ct. App. June 4, 1991)


Summary judgment is proper if there is no genuine issue of material fact and when the evidence is construed most strongly in favor of the non-moving party, reasonable minds must be able to come to but one conclusion, making the moving party entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


The customer was detained in the store by the store manager for approximately 30 minutes on suspicions of shoplifting. When the manager discovered the allegedly stolen item in the customer's purse, she was arrested and charged with shoplifting. The customer commenced her action against defendants for false imprisonment and contended that she had been wrongfully detained in an unreasonable manner and for an unreasonable length of time. Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted, and the customer appealed. 


Was the summary judgment in favor of defendant store proper?




The court affirmed the judgment. The court held that pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2935.041, the manager had probable cause to detain the customer. Second, the court held that the customer's affidavit in response to the motion was not sufficient to create a question of fact as to the reasonableness of the detention and of the length of time because she did not set forth some set of facts from which a jury might conclude that a 30-minute detention was unreasonable.

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