Whitaker v. Sandford Case Brief

Summary of Whitaker v. Sandford, S. Ct. Maine, 1912

Facts: Plaintiff was married to the leader of a religious sect. Plaintiff decided to abandon the sect and return to Maine. The defendant owned a yacht which they return upon, with the known condition that the plaintiff would not be restrained upon arrival. The plaintiff was restrained for some time nearly a month. The Defendant would not dock the yacht nor would he allow the plaintiff to land without accompaniment. Plaintiff secured her release by way of a sheriff.

Issue: Whether the restraint can be by way of utility or barrier?

Holding: Yes.

Procedure: Jury returned verdict against defendant. Affirmed.

Rule: False imprisonment must be by way of actual physical restraint, not mere moral influence.

Ct. Rationale: The yacht was substituted for a key to a lock and the open sea between the yacht and land the doorway. The defendant refused to supply a means by which the plaintiff could arrive onto the land. Knowingly the defendant committed an unlawful act of physical restraint and confinement.

P. A. : With no means to get to land she was unlawfully restrained after the defendant denied usage of a boat.

D. A. : The plaintiff chose to remain upon the boat and never attempted to leave.

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