Panama City, FL asked in Uncategorized for Florida

Q: I am a current business law student and Im having trouble with an assignment. Is there a way I can chat with a lawyer?

My assignment is to write a 6 page paper on what charges i can file and why against a company for holding a woman for an hour accusing her of theft and telling her if she leaves, she will go to jail. I understand that can be stressful and its a little excessive to be held for an hour, but I don't understand how that would possibly win any case. Is there something I'm not understanding? I've read the chapter on this 4 times now and I'm still lost.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Jane Kim
Jane Kim
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I understand how you wouldn't want to ask this question of your Professor. (-: But maybe you should, maybe s/he's heard so many student-like questions that s/he'd have a better explanation than I can provide here.

Every case has two parts- liability and damages. Here, you seem to accept that according to the law there must be liability. But you do not understand how that can "win" the case, meaning- What would be the amount of damages? That's for the jury to decide, right?

This happens more often than you'd think- your client may win on liability and still walk away with much of nothing. You'd be expected to advise your client about such a possibility before you embark on litigating the case.

There was a case in IL about alienation of affection; a husband suing his wife's boy-friend. The jury did not want the boy-friend to pay for this alienation of affection lawsuit. After all, it involved the Plaintiff and the Defendant participating in the swinging type of activities together, so that the husband seemed as guilty as the boy-friend. However, the jury had no choice but to find the boy-friend liable under the archaic law. Despite finding the boy-friend liable, the jury determined that the boy-friend should pay the husband damages in the amount of $1. At a CNN interview, the wife said- The jury made me feel like I am worth a dollar; am I worth a dollar?

Phillip William Gunthert agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I would encourage you to start with False Imprisonment and then see how you can tie this into a civil action. See below;

Elements of a False Imprisonment Claim

All states have false imprisonment laws to protect against unlawful confinement. To prove a false imprisonment claim as a tort in a civil lawsuit, the following elements must be present:

There was a willful detention;

The detention was without consent; and

The detention was unlawful.

False imprisonment can come in many forms; physical force is often used, but it isn't required. The restraint of a person may be imposed by physical barriers (such as being locked in a car) or by unreasonable duress (for example, holding someone's valuables, with the intent to coerce them to remain at a location).

To claim false imprisonment, you must reasonably believe that you were confined; a court will determine whether the belief is reasonable by determining what a reasonable person would do or believe under similar circumstances. Additionally, the actor must have the intent to commit the confinement without the privilege to do so. For instance, shopkeepers investigating shoplifting or civilians who have witnessed a felony have necessary privilege to meet legal standards.

Examples of false imprisonment may include:

A person locking another person in a room without their permission

A person grabbing onto another person without their consent, and holding them so that they cannot leave

A security guard or store owner who detains someone for an unreasonable amount of time based on their appearance

An employer who detains someone for questioning for an unreasonable amount of time for suspected theft

Nursing home staff who medicates a patient without their consent under physical or emotional threat

The following examples don't constitute false imprisonment:

A claim that you were falsely imprisoned simply because you were found innocent of a crime

A person who grabs your arm but you know you can free yourself from his grip without fear of retaliation

A storekeeper who detains you for a reasonable amount of time for questioning based on probable cause, such as if she saw you take a concealed item out of the store without paying for it

A person who closes the front door and asks you not to leave, but you know you can leave through an open side door

1 user found this answer helpful

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The assignment you were given, as you indicate, is to write about "what charges [you could] file". "Charges" usually suggest a criminal case, but since you are a business law student, it appears that the assignment is about a hypothetical civil case, in which one person (the person detained) would sue another (the shopkeeper) for money damages. You should make that distinction clear in your paper.

1 user found this answer helpful

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