Lopez v. Winchell's Donut House

126 Ill. App. 3d 46, 81 Ill. Dec. 507, 466 N.E.2d 1309 (1984)

 

RULE:

The common law tort of false imprisonment is defined as an unlawful restraint of an individual's personal liberty or freedom of locomotion. Imprisonment has been defined as any unlawful exercise or show of force by which a person is compelled to remain where he does not wish to remain or to go where he does not wish to go. In order for a false imprisonment to be present, there must be actual or legal intent to restrain.

FACTS:

Plaintiff filed an action for false imprisonment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. The trial court determined that the answers given in the employee's deposition stated that she voluntarily accompanied an agent of the employer into a room where she was questioned, she stayed in the room in order to protect her reputation, and she was never threatened with the loss of her job and never put in fear of her safety. On appeal the employee alleged that her written response to the employer's motion for summary judgment did not contradict the statements made in her discovery deposition.

ISSUE:

Is false imprisonment a ground for a plaintiff to recover if it is voluntary?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

A false imprisonment is a restraint to a person’s liberty or freedom of movement where there is unlawful action.  The court held that for the tort of false imprisonment it was not enough for the employee to have felt compelled to remain in the room in order to protect her reputation. The evidence had to have established that she was restrained against her will. The evidence revealed no such constraint of a threat, express or implied, or to physical force of any kind.

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