Hardy v. Labelle’s Distributing CO. Case Brief

Summary of Hardy v. Labelle’s Distributing CO., S. Ct. Montana, 1983

Facts: Labelle’s hired Hardy as a temporary employee as a sales clerk in the jewelry dept. On Sept. 9 another employee accused Hardy of stealing to the manager. The following day the manager stated that all new employees were given a tour of the store. Wherein she was locked in the manager’s office until being questioned by the police, manager, and in-store detective. She denied the accusation and took a polygraph. The test returned the same result, negative for deception.

Issue: Whether the 45 minutes of employer restraint constitutes false imprisonment when voluntarily subjected to the restrain? Whether the evidence supports the findings of the jury and did the ct. err in instruction?

Holding: No there was no err, the jury had correctly applied the evidence, and the detention was not against her will constituting false imprisonment.

Procedure: Trial ct. jury found Hardy was not restrained against her will. Affirmed.

Rule: False imprisonment consists of 1) unlawful restraint of another, and 2) restraint is against that person’s will. [said restraint may be by words or acts which he fears to disregard.]

Ct. Rationale: Hardy was not restrained against her will, she testified that she would have went voluntarily, and that she wanted to stay. Jury determined that she was not detained against her will and the appellate ct. will not upset for lack of legal error.

P. A. : The fear of force by the overwhelming presence of police, manager, in-store detective, created an atmosphere of detention against her will.

D. A. : At no point was the plaintiff informed that she wasn’t free to go, she volunteered to stay and take the test.

Sina qua non: Without which not. An indispensable condition.

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