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Elements of a Cause of Action for False Imprisonment and Federal Pleading Standard

Applicable Standard for Evaluating the Allegations in the Complaint

The elements of a cause of action for false imprisonment are:

(1) willful or intentional;
(2) confinement or restraint of a person by actions or words;
(3) within a bounded area or with no reasonable means of escape;
(4) the victim must be aware of the confinement at the time of the restraint; and (5) the victim did not consent or agree to the confinement.

Plaintiff’s complaint alleged the following:

  1. On June 1, 2021, Smith went to work as usual.
  2. Walking to the bus stop, two men jumped from a van and abducted Smith.
  3. The men aggressively held Smith and threw him into the van.
  4. The men drove the van and Smith to an unknown location where Smith was placed on a chair in a room.
  1. The men accused Smith, who is Latinx, of gathering young Latinx children to fill out ballots for Joe Biden in the 2020 election and bringing those fraudulent ballots to the local polling place after it closed to be counted.
  1. Smith denied knowing about or committing any such acts of voter fraud.
  2. Smith demanded to be released.
  3. The men told Smith he could leave any time he wanted, but that he should know that other men were currently searching his home where his spouse and children were.
  1. The men also told Smith that if he did anything to interfere with their efforts to find and cure voter fraud that they would make sure that Smith and his family were deported to Mexico.
  1. Smith said that he was a US citizen and that they could not deport him or his family.
  2. The men laughed and mocked Smith.
  3. The men made statements like, “that’s what they all say.”
  4. One of the men received a phone call and the men hastily left the room.
  5. A long period of time passed.
  6. Smith nervously got up to look around the room and explore the rest of the building.
  7. The men were nowhere to be found.
  8. Smith went outside, waved down a passerby on the street, and used the passerby’s mobile phone to call his spouse who came to pick him up.

Smith eventually learned the identities of the two men, then filed a civil complaint for false imprisonment. The law office where you work has been retained by the two men alleged to have falsely imprisoned Smith. The partner asks you to assess the Complaint allegations listed above under the federal pleading standard (this is a diversity action) for a false imprisonment claim.

Answer the following:

State the applicable standard for evaluating the allegations in the Complaint. (100 word limit)

Under the applicable pleading standard and for each allegation, identify how the allegation (or part of the allegation) will be viewed by the court in deciding the motion. For any part or whole allegation that the court will not consider, state why the court will not consider it. (no word limit because your answers should be brief – feel free to make a chart in which to organize your answer).

If we file a motion to dismiss the Complaint on behalf of the two men, how will the court decide the motion? Provide reasons for your answer. (250 word limit)

Assume the motion to dismiss is denied, Discovery then proceeds in accordance with the FRCP and mainly consists of depositions of the parties and witnesses and is now complete. The following information is from discovery:

Smith’s deposition:

  1. He was taken to the building and room.
  2. The men initially brought him into the room then left.
  3. He was then alone in the room.
  4. His ability to see was never impaired or obstructed.
  5. When the two men spoke to Smith they were not present in the room.
  6. Both men spoke to Smith but he cannot recall which one made the comments in allegations 8 or 9 of the complaint.
  1. The room had 3 doors, all of which were open.
  2. No one visibly threatened him with any gesture or weapon.
  3. No one physically restrained him.
  4. Nothing changed between the time he arrived in the room and when he left, other than that the two men stopped talking to him.

Man 1’s deposition:

  1. He was never in the building or room with Smith.
  2. He never threatened Smith.
  3. The building had no occupants other than Smith.
  4. Smith was free to leave at any time.

Man 2’s deposition:

  1. He led Smith into the building and room.
  2. He never told Smith he could not leave.
  3. Smith’s head was never covered.
  4. Smith was always free to leave.
  5. After leading Smith into the room, Man 2 left the building.
  6. Man 2 and Man 1 talked to Smith by phone, as they were driving away. Their phone was connected to a speaker system in the room where Smith was.

At your boss’s request, you file a motion for summary judgment arguing that Smith’s deposition fails to support elements 3 and 4 of the false imprisonment cause of action.

What are the appropriate standards the trial court should apply in evaluating a defendant’s motion for summary judgment? Include all applicable rules. (250 word limit)

In his response to your motion for summary judgment, Smith attaches the following documents:

  • -  A signed letter from Smith’s doctor stating that he examined Smith, that Smith said he often wakes up in the middle of the night pleading that he “doesn’t want to be deported”, and that in his expert opinion as a doctor, he finds Smith’s statements to be credible.
  • -  An affidavit from Smith stating that he did not believe he could leave the room because of the men’s threats to his family and of deportation.
  • -  A note Smith found on the floor of the room that said, “be sure to leave the doors open.”

Should the court consider these attachments in deciding the summary judgment motion? (250 word limit)

Apply the standard from your answer to Question 1d to the discovery facts and the documents that you determine should be considered from

How should the court rule on the motion for summary judgment? Present both sides (arguments and counterarguments) and explain why you think the court will find one side more persuasive than the other. (500 word limit)

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