The Law School Authority

Big Town Nursing Home v. Newman Case Brief

Summary of Big Town Nursing Home v. Newman, Ct. Civil App. Texas, 1970

Facts: Plaintiff was initially take to a rest home by his nephew, who signed admission papers, which stated that patient “will not be forced to remain in the nursing home against his will for any length of time.”  Plaintiff was retired printer, 67 with Parkinson’s, arthritis, heart trouble, a voice impediment, and a hiatal hernia.  Shortly after arriving Plaintiff attempted to leave and call a cab.  The employees refused to allow and locked the plaintiff’s cloth up.  Plaintiff attempted to physically leave and was restrained and taped into a chair, locked up in the mental wing, and over a period of 51 days refused to leave.  Plaintiff subsequently escaped after 51 days.  He had lost 30 lbs.

Issue: Whether the acts against the plaintiff constitute false imprisonment?

Holding: Yes.

Procedure: Appealed from the jury’s judgment where Mr. Newman was falsely imprisoned.

Rule: False imprisonment is the direct restraint of one person of the physical liberty of another without adequate legal justification.

Ct. Rationale: The defendant knew that plaintiff was not a mental patient, alcoholic, drug addict, and locked him up with the same.  Locked and restrained the plaintiff to a chair against his will.  Prevented him from using the telephone, locked up his clothes, and detained him for 51 days when he asked to be released, despite the admission agreement stating he would not be held against his will for any length of time.

P. A. : Was directly restrained of his physical liberties by the nursing home.

D. A. : Parkinson’s played a part in the determination that he was a harm to himself or others.  Failure to name the nephew as co-defendant.

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