Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 2

Brief case.

By: Karen I. García Sánchez

Caption: McCann v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
210 F.3d 51 (2000).

Facts: Debra McCann (plaintiff) and her two sons were shopping at a Wal-Mart (defendant) store.
After the McCanns paid at the register, two Wal-Mart employees blocked them from leaving the store.
The employees asserted that McCann’s sons had previously been caught stealing and were not
allowed in the store. However, the employees were mistaken and were confusing the McCanns with
another family. The Wal-Mart employees escorted the McCanns to an area near the exit, and one
employee left, claiming to be calling the police. McCann offered to show her identification, but the
remaining employee refused to look at it. When one of McCann’s sons asked to go the bathroom, the
employee told the boy that he could not leave. After an hour, the Wal-Mart employees realized their
mistake and let the McCanns leave the store. McCann brought a claim of false imprisonment against
Wal-Mart, and the jury ruled in favor of McCann.

Rule: False imprisonment occurs when a tortfeasor, using any means of duress, intentionally confines
a victim in a boundary fixed by the tortfeasor, and the victim is either aware of or harmed by the
confinement.

Issue: Whether or not did the Mc Canns prove false imprisonment under Maine law?

Whether or not does false imprisonment require “actual, physical restraint”?

Holding: Yes, they can prove false imprisonment and no, confinement may be accomplished by any
means of duress, such as a physical barrier, physical force, a threat of physical force, or a false claim
of legal power to confine.

Analysis: While the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has not completely defined the tort, common law
false imprisonment occurs when a tortfeasor, using any means of duress, intentionally confines a
victim in a boundary fixed by the tortfeasor, and the victim is either aware of or harmed by the
confinement. Wal-Mart points to the case of Knowlton v. Ross, 114 Maine 18 (1915), claiming
that Knowltonstates that false imprisonment requires “actual, physical restraint.” This phrase is taken
out of context, however, and merely reinforces the requirement that the plaintiff be actually confined,
and unable to leave the area of confinement. The Restatement and the common law agree that
confinement can be satisfied by a mere claim of legal power to confine or an implicit threat of physical
force. In the case at hand, Wal-Mart employees escorted the McCanns to an isolated area, threatened
to call the police, made the McCanns wait for the police to arrive, and told Jonathan McCann that he
could not go to the bathroom. Reasonable people in this situation might believe that they would be
physically restrained if they attempted to leave, or that the Wal-Mart employees were claiming legal
power to confine them

Conclusion: . Because false imprisonment does not require “actual, physical restraint,” the jury
verdict is affirmed.