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Deborah Cameron and Sonja Perdue vs. K-Mart

Early in 1994, a K-Mart manager notified K-Mart's Birmingham, Alabama stores that Deborah Cameron and Sonja Perdue had repeatedly returned merchandise without receipts and had been given cash refunds. The manager also stated his belief that Cameron and Perdue had shoplifted the merchandise for which they had obtained supposed "refunds." Accordingly, the manager told all K-Mart loss-control managers in the area to be on the lookout for Cameron and Perdue and to monitor their activities closely. Among the recipients of this message was Doug Sharp, the loss-control manager for the Bessemer, Alabama K-Mart store.

One night, after Bessemer store personnel refused to give Perdue a refund because she did not have a receipt, Sharp asked to speak with Perdue. He led Perdue to a loss-control room inside the store. Later, Sharp detained Cameron in a separate loss-control room after observing her putting a set of drapes into her purse. After Perdue accused Cameron of making her steal items and Cameron made the same accusation regarding Perdue, Cameron confessed to taking the drapes. The police arrived and arrested Perdue and Cameron for third-degree theft. Perdue and Cameron were convicted of that crime, but their convictions were reversed on appeal.

Perdue and Cameron later sued Sharp and K-Mart for, among other things, false imprisonment. Were the plaintiffs entitled to win their false imprisonment claim?

Solution Preview

The following will provide you with a detailed review of the false imprisonment tort, what is constitutes, and a review of the case that Cameron and Perdue brought upon K-Mart with its outcome. Good luck.

False imprisonment, complete restraint upon a person's liberty of movement without legal justification. Actual physical contact is not necessary; a show of authority or a threat of force is sufficient. The person falsely imprisoned may sue the offender for damages. The suit would be brought against officials improperly issuing warrants for arrest and against private persons for any illegal total restraint of liberty. Release from such illegal restraint may be had through a habeas corpus proceeding.

The elements of the tort are:
? Intent to confine another person against their will. In Australia, this element will be fulfilled if the imprisonment is negligently occasioned.
? An act pursuant to this ...

Solution Summary

Here is just a hint of what is in this solution:

"Each complaint alleged that Sharp, acting as a loss control manager of a Kmart store in Bessemer, had detained the plaintiff on suspicion of shoplifting and had done so without..."

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