Smiley, a buyer from Carrefour Fashions, entered the store of a rival firm, Boulevard Boutique. The reason for his visit was to find out about the latest lines that Boulevard was carrying. Once Smiley entered the store he was recognized by Maldini, the store manager of Boulevard, who immediately called the store detective and told him to keep an eye on Smiley. Maldini then called the police, notifying them that he had a shoplifter in the store. Smiley never tried to leave, believing that Rocco, the store detective, would not permit him to do so. Once the police took Smiley to the station he explained the situation and was released.
1. What might Smiley have against Boulevard, Maldini or Rocco? 2. Does Boulevard have any cause of action against Smiley?
In 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 case, however, Smiley was not committing the crime of shoplifting and Rocco
Bibliography: 1. Kerr, Margaret, JoAnn Kurtz, and Olivo Laurence M.Canadian Tort Law. 3rd. Canada: Thomson Reuters, 2009. Print. 2. McInnes, Mitchell, Ian R. Kerr, and J. Anthony VanDuzer.Managing the Law: The Legal Aspects of Doing Business. 3. Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2011. Print.