Lopez v. Wenchells Donut House – Case Brief


Lopez v. Wenchells Donut House

Illinois Appellate Court

126 Ill.App.3d 46, 466 N.E.2d 1302

Justice Lorenz

Facts

Donut Worker, of 3 years, asserts that she was falsely imprisoned by employer whilst being questioned for cash register fraud.

Incident occured April 8th, she was called into work by Boss

– Asked to walk to back of bakery, door was locked

– Was questioned about theft and register fraud

Plaintiff testimony in disposision stated that she was never physically detained

– She left on her own will and was not asked to stay or threatened to be fired

– Alleges she felt compelled to stay to protect her reputation

Procedural History

Trial court granted summary judgememt for Boss Defendant

Plaintiff worker appealed and posits she felt compelled to stay to protect reputation

Rule

Common law tort of false imprisonment  is defined as “an unlawful restraint of an individuals personal liberty or freedom of locomotion” “any unlawful exercise or show of force by which a person is compelled to remain where he does not wish to remain or to go” there must be legal intent to restrain. Unlawful restraint may be effected by words alone.

Holding

Moral pressure as to where the plaintiff remains is not enough, nor as in cases of assault are threats of the future.

An affirmative defense used by defendant was that it had reasonable grounds there was theft and kept her for “a reasonable length of time”

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