III. False Imprisonment: Taking Charge of Others | Jonathan Zittrain | June 24, 2011


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III. False Imprisonment: Taking Charge of Others

by Jonathan Zittrain Show/Hide

Assault and battery are broad torts: they can be used to cover many different situations, perhaps including ones in which barriers or the threat of force are used to force someone to go where he or she doesn’t want to go, or to keep a person in one place without assent. Yet tort law has evolved a more specific tort to cover that particular set of situations: false imprisonment.

What, if anything, does false imprisonment accomplish as a category that assault and battery cannot? What plausible situations could arise that would test a colloquial notion of what counts as false imprisonment, and how can we best sort those out? Are there “good” imprisonments that can come up in everyday life that should be excused from the tort’s reach?


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    1. 1.1 Show/Hide More Lopez v. Winchell's Donut House--"The Accused Employee Who Freely Left"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Should a defendant be liable for false imprisonment when it did not apply force, use the threat of force, nor assert its authority to confine the plaintiff?
    2. 1.2 Show/Hide More Parvi v. City of Kingston--"The Dropped Off Drunk"
      Original Creator: lilac1612 Current Version: Jonathan Zittrain
      Can an otherwise-consented-to action become false imprisonment if the plaintiff no longer wants it?
    1. 2.1 Show/Hide More Peterson v. Sorlien -- "The Unsuccessfully Deprogrammed Daughter"
      Original Creator: lilac1612 Current Version: Jonathan Zittrain
      Should we regard individuals as “falsely imprisoned” when they are provided with many opportunities to escape?
    1. 3.1 Show/Hide More Eilers v. Coy--"The Falsely Consenting Cultist"
      Original Creator: lilac1612 Current Version: Jonathan Zittrain
      Should we recognize false imprisonment in situations where the confinement is arguably for the plaintiff’s own good? Should consent excuse the defendant’s liability for false imprisonment, even if it is feigned?
    2. 3.2 Show/Hide More Bright v. Ailshie--"The Mistaken Bounty Hunter"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Should defendants be excused from false imprisonment liability when they mistakenly exercise otherwise-legal restraint on the wrong individual?

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