CHAPTER 7: TORT LAW
1. Smiley, a buyer for Carrefour Fashions, entered the store of a rival firm, Boulevard Boutique, in order to find out what latest lines they were carrying. He was recognized by Maldini, the manager of Boulevard Boutique, who called the store detective, Rocco, and ordered him to “keep an eye” on Smiley while he, Maldini, called the police.
Maldini called the police and informed them he had a “suspected shoplifter” on the premises. Smiley did not attempt to leave before the police arrived, assuming that Rocco would prevent him from doing so if he tried.
Smiley accompanied the police officers to the police station where they accepted his explanation as to why he was in the store and released him.
Question: What claim might Smiley have against Boulevard, Maldini or Rocco? Answer: order to answer these questions there are a few tort liability issues that need to be discussed. The first issue is false imprisonment. “False imprisonment is the intentional confinement of another person within fixed boundaries without lawful justification.” (Kerr, 19) In this case, Smiley could have left the store, but was led to believe that Rocco would stop him if he tried. There was no physical restraint in this situation and no justification on suspicion of shoplifting; however, the detention was psychological. Smiley believed that Rocco would physically restrain him if he tried to leave the store. If this tort was brought in court, Rocco could use the defence of legal authority. “The defence of legal authority is raised where the defendant claims that a statutory provision authorizes the conduct that would otherwise constitute a tort.” (Kerr, 29) Since Rocco is considered a private citizen and not a police officer, he can only make an arrest if a crime is actually being committed at the time. Rocco believed that Smiley was committing a crime because he was informed so by Maldini. In this...
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