Crase v. Highland Village Value Plus Pharmacy

Decision Date30 March 1978
Docket NumberNo. 1-777A145,1-777A145
Citation374 N.E.2d 58,176 Ind.App. 47
PartiesCora Irene CRASE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HIGHLAND VILLAGE VALUE PLUS PHARMACY, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtIndiana Appellate Court

David S. McCrea, McCrea & McCrea, Bloomington, for plaintiff-appellant.

Bunger, Harrell & Robertson, Gary L. Clendening, William K. Steger, Bloomington, for defendant-appellee.

ROBERTSON, Judge.

On April 9, 1976, plaintiff-appellant Cora Irene Crase filed a complaint for damages against Highland Village Value Plus Pharmacy (Pharmacy) for an alleged false imprisonment. Crase appeals the decision of the trial court which granted the defendant-appellee Pharmacy summary judgment.

The facts are as follows. On May 17, 1975, Crase completed her business in the Pharmacy and left the premises. She entered the adjacent grocery and shortly thereafter was stopped by William Cowden. Cowden tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Ma'am, would you come outside, I'd like to talk to you." Crase, who did not know Cowden, was reluctant to accompany him. She asked, "Well, who are you and what do you want? " After Cowden identified himself as a police officer and displayed his badge, she followed him outside. Cowden then said, "Ma'am, you know that stuff you were looking at in there? " Crase answered, "Yes", and Cowden continued, "Well, there was seven of them on the stack and now there is only six. You didn't pay for one." After stating that she had laid it back on the shelf, Crase offered to accompany Cowden back into the pharmacy in order to prove to him that she had not stolen anything. At this point, Cowden said that he did not want to cause a scene but that normally people are arrested for shoplifting. In a further attempt to vindicate herself, Crase emptied her purse. Cowden then apologized, and, after suggesting that Crase might want to talk to the manager, he departed.

After Crase completed her grocery shopping, she returned to the pharmacy for the purpose of reporting the incident to the manager but was too upset to speak with him. In her deposition, Crase listed doctor visits and a detrimental effect on her job as being caused by the incident.

It is Crase's contention that there was a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether she was falsely imprisoned by the Pharmacy's agent, who, allegedly without probable cause, stopped and interrogated her outside an adjacent grocery store.

A motion for summary judgment may be sustained where the pleadings and other matters filed with the court reveal that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Ind. Rules of Procedure, Trial Rule 56(C); Cunningham v. Universal Battery Division-Yardney Electric Corp. (1976), Ind.App., 352 N.E.2d 83. In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the facts established by the opponent must be taken as true and all doubts must be resolved against the proponent of the motion. Union State Bank v. Williams (1976), Ind.App., 348 N.E.2d 683. With this standard of review in mind, we address Crase's appeal.

The essence of Pharmacy's memorandum in support of its motion for summary judgment was that Cowden's conduct did not constitute an arrest or detention and that even if it did, he had probable cause to believe a theft had taken place and therefore had a right to detain Crase.

The trial court, in granting Pharmacy's motion for summary judgment, found that "the facts most favorable to the plaintiff herein do not show any acts on the part of the defendant or its agent which constitute an actionable arrest, confinement, detention or imprisonment." The trial court found further that Crase could not have sustained any damages attributable to Pharmacy or its agent.

While the trial court did not articulate any specific basis for the granting of summary judgment, we infer from the language of the order either or both of two likely bases. The first is that Crase did not present a prima facie case of false imprisonment; the second is that the trial court determined, as a matter of law, that there existed probable cause to detain thus providing Pharmacy with a statutory defense to the complaint. 1

False imprisonment has been defined as an unlawful restraint upon one's freedom of locomotion or the deprivation of liberty of another without his consent. 14 I.L.E. False Imprisonment § 1 (1959); Brickman v. Robertson Brothers Department Store (1964), 136 Ind.App. 467, 472, 202 N.E.2d 583, 586.

In Brickman, the plaintiff obtained permission to exchange some socks, then proceeded to make the exchange himself. After the plaintiff exited the store, the store detective grabbed his arm, stopping his forward progress, and in a voice carrying authority ordered the plaintiff back into the store. This court concluded that Brickman had made a prima facie case of false imprisonment.

Similarly, we conclude that the facts contained in Crase's pleadings and affidavit, when taken as true, would permit an inference that there was an unlawful restraint upon Crase's freedom of locomotion or deprivation of her liberty without her consent. Thus, it is our view that Crase has presented a prima facie case enabling her to overcome a motion for summary judgment directed to this point.

As Crase's and Cowden's accounts of the incident are in conflict in some significant respects, there is indeed a question of fact present, and questions of fact relating to the existence and involuntary character of a detention are to be determined by the trier of fact. 35 C.J.S. False Imprisonment § 59 (1960).

Our determination that there are material questions of fact regarding the existence and involuntary character of a detention does not automatically dictate reversal...

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18 cases
  • Lovely v. Cooper Indus. Products, Inc.
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • December 22, 1981
    ... ... was not supported by evidence of probative value will we be compelled to hold as a matter of law ... ...
  • Boswell v. Lyon
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • March 24, 1980
    ...the motion must be taken as true, and all doubts must be resolved against the proponent of the motion. Crase v. Highland Village Value Plus Pharmacy (1978), Ind.App., 374 N.E.2d 58; St. Joseph Bank & Trust Company v. The Wackenhut Corporation (1976), Ind.App., 352 N.E.2d 842; Mayhew v. Deis......
  • Conn v. Paul Harris Stores, Inc.
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • August 31, 1982
    ...the motion must be taken as true, and all doubts must be resolved against the proponent of the motion. Crase v. Highland Village Value Plus Pharmacy, (1978) 176 Ind.App. 47, 374 N.E.2d 58; St. Joseph Bank & Trust Company of South Bend, Indiana v. The Wackenhut Corporation, (1976) 170 Ind.Ap......
  • Cromer v. Sefton
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • September 18, 1984
    ...the motion must be taken as true, and all doubts must be resolved against the proponent of the motion. Crase v. Highland Village Value Plus Pharmacy, (1978) Ind.App. 374 N.E.2d 58; St. Joseph Bank and Trust Company v. Wackenhut Corporation, (1976) Ind.App. 352 N.E.2d 842; Mayhew v. Deister,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Related State Torts
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Litigating Employment Discrimination Cases. Volume 1-2 Volume 1 - Law
    • May 1, 2023
    ...2002); Illinois : Carey v. K-Way, Inc. , 312 Ill. App. 3d 666, 747 (Ill. 2000); Indiana : Crase v. Highland Village Value Plus Pharmacy , 374 N.E.2d 58, 60-61 (Ind. App. 1978); Nebraska : Holmes v. Crossroads Joint Venture , 629 N.W.2d 511, 527 (Neb. 2001); New York : Arrington v. Liz Claib......

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