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Negligence of Organization: Wrongful Imprisonment

Wrongful imprisonment, also sometimes known as false imprisonment or false arrest, refers to the invalid use of legal authority to detain someone against their will and restrict their freedom of movement. This unlawful restraint happens without legal justification and, even though actual physical restraint is not necessary for wrongful imprisonment, this act can still be brought to court for monetary compensation due to the emotional, psychological, and physical damages it can cause. Wrongful imprisonment falls under both classifications of a crime and a tort, and Leav & Steinberg LLP can identify this negligence and help you receive possible compensation if you are a victim.

What Happens If I Experience Wrongful Imprisonment?

Unlike a wrongful arrest from a member of law enforcement, including police officers or security guards, wrongful imprisonment involves manipulation and pressure to be physically confined on business or organization premises. This act occurs if someone is restricted from leaving a location, such as being held hostage or being detained by a business owner. Other examples can include holding a person for suspected shoplifting, a hospital or nursing home holding someone against their will without consent or order, or a religious sect unlawfully restraining a member from leaving the property. These acts can all be classified as a crime, and so charges in a criminal case can be set and damages can be sought out.

When Is a Public Entity or Organization Liable for Wrongful Imprisonment?

By intentionally confining another person without their consent in a bounded area or limiting their freedom of movement in all directions, false imprisonment has been committed. Bounded areas can include threats of immediate physical force or using a physical barrier as an act of restraint, as well as psychological barriers including threats to harm the detainee or the detainee’s family if they leave.

Victims can also be deprived of their personal liberty through an invalid use of legal authority, including being arrested without a warrant or with an illegally executed warrant. Many elements go into determining whether or not imprisonment was wrongful, as these laws vary from state to state and sometimes the defendant might have had reasonable grounds to commit the act. For this reason, hiring an experienced team is the best way to determine the facts of the case and make a claim.

What Are the Defenses Commonly Used for Wrongful Imprisonment?

Wrongful imprisonment is most commonly defended under the arguments of police privilege, probable cause, or the defense known as Shopkeeper’s Privilege. Under Shopkeeper’s Privilege, a store owner is allowed to detain someone in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable amount of time only if they have a reasonable belief that the person has stolen something from their store.

Someone defending wrongful imprisonment could also use the argument of probable cause, which states that the person committing the confinement had an honest suspicion that the accused person was guilty of an act, and therefore had to be detained. There is also the argument of voluntary consent, which would mean that a person was held without any coercion, duress, or fraud and—in that case—would not be considered wrongful imprisonment. If none of these defenses apply to your situation, and you would like to successfully file a claim for a wrongful imprisonment case, the team at Leav & Steinberg is ready to help.

Contact Leav & Steinberg

If you have experienced an event that falls under any of the classifications listed here and would like to sue for false imprisonment, contact Leav & Steinberg today. We will work side-by-side with you to help you receive compensation. Contact us at 212-766-5222 for a free consultation and learn more about filing a claim throughout the New York City area.