Professor Hicks Torts: False Imprisonment–Awareness
Here is a case from my Torts course which explains the concept of awareness during false imprisonment. In this case, being drunk does not necessarily mean you are not aware of being confined against your will.
Case Name, Citation number, Author
Parvi v. City of Kingston, 41 N.Y.2d 553, 362 N.E.2d 960, 394 N.Y.S.2d 161, 1977 N.Y.
–Plaintiff became intoxicated (Parvi)
–There was a fight, and police came down to calm the fight along with intoxicated plaintiff.
–Plaintiff told police that he had no place to go.
–Police didn’t arrest him but drove him outside the city limits to an abandon golf course to “dry out”
–no evidence of forcing plaintiff into car
–Hours later plaintiff was found wandering onto NY State traffic where he was struck by a car.
–On cross-examination, he admits to having no recollection of what happened that night.
1) Did the plaintiff have awareness that he was falsely imprisoned from the time he met the officers to his destination point?
2) Did the court erred when they dismissed it?
–False imprisonment, as a dignitary tort, is not suffered unless its victim knows of the dignitary invasion.
–Restatement 2nd of Torts 42: There is no liability for intentionally confining another unless the person physically restrained knows of the confinement or is harmed by it .
–You don’t need consciousness, to be wrongly confined.
–you don’t need to be conscious to know that you were wrongly confined. The Plaintiff was responsive to Police’s request to get into car.
Case reversed by NY court of Appeals
Plaintiff should have sued police on negligence
This is a very hard case to decide, if there was false imprisonment, because there is only one side to this story: the police’s story. And we don’t know if the plaintiff lost his recollection that night due to the car accident or his drunkenness. If there were body cameras and dash cameras, then we can check to see if the officers’ account of the story is true. The most logical lawsuit is to sue the police for negligence because they had an obligation towards the plaintiff’s safety–an abandoned golf course is not a good place to drop off a drunk man.
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