Teichmiller v. Rogers Memorial Hospital INC
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Teichmiller v. Rogers Memorial Hospital Inc 597 N.W.2d 773 (Wis. Ct. App. 1999) (Unpublished Decision) Parties: Plaintiff – Elaine Teichmiller – Registered nurse who worked for D. Defendant – Rogers Memorial Hospital Inc – Company that employed Christine Hansburg-Hotson, Debbie Bergerson-Hawkins and Sue Otto, people who tried to confine P. Facts: After P was notified that she was going to be terminated from her job as a nurse at D’s hospital, she was told to meet at the clinic with Christine Hansburg- Hotson, Debbie Bergerson-Hawkins and Sue Otto in order to discuss P’s exit requirements. P sat in a chair nearest to the door, which remained open during the meeting. During the meeting, P said that she refused to sign a form and wanted to speak to and consult with an attorney. This is when Christine Hansburg-Hotson, Debbie Bergerson-Hawkins and Sue Otto became excited and started to shot at P. P stated that she wanted to make a copy of the document at the copier, which was located in a different room. Bergerson-Hawkins then blocked the doorway, which the other two D’s yelled at P. The D’s claimed that P was trying to steal hospital property by taking the exit requirements to the copier in the conference room. The confrontation took 3-4 minutes and on P’s third attempt to move out the room, Bergerson-Hawkins stepped aside. P claims that she was never touched or threatened with physical contact, even though she felt threatened physically and verbally. P also claimed that she never asked to leave the office, all she stated was that she wanted to make a copy of the document and because the copier was in another room, she believed that she made it clear that she wanted to leave. Procedural Posture: P claimed that she was wrongfully discharged because she was forced to leave her job because she refused to falsify medical records. D moved for summary judgment on P’s wrongful discharge and false imprisonment claims. Trial court granted D’s motion. Court of Appeals affirmed. Issue: Whether P’s confinement can lead to a false imprisonment claim? Holding: The court holds that the trial court was correct in granting the D’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing P’s claims for wrongful discharge and false imprisonment. Legal Reasoning: Teichmiller v. Rogers Memorial Hospital Inc., is like Herbst v. Wuennenberg (political canvassers enter building that D occupies, D stands in front of enterence of building door. D never threatens or intimidates P and P never asked permission to leave the building or made any attempt to leave.) Court found in Wuennenberg that it was speculation to believe that D would have refused to move if P had requested and that P was never screamed at by D, P outnumbered D 3 to 1 and there was no evidence that they were frightened by D or that they feared harm from D. P never submitted to apprehension of force. Just like in Herbst, P never asked to leave the manager’s office and P was eventually able to leave after her third attempt.