Big Town Nursing Home, Inc. v. Newman, Court of Civil Appeal, TX 1970 Issue: Did the nursing home falsely imprison Newman? Reasoning False Imprisonment: Intent Direct restraint of physical liberty (3) P tried to leave many times but was not allowed to (tried to walk out, and tried to ask staff to let him go). He was confined to Wing 3 with the insane, drug addicts, and mentally disturbed. Was not allowed to use the phone; Was restrained in a chair and was not visited by a Dr. for 10 days at Wing 3. (2) The admissions papers provide that P can leave anytime he wanted and P was not told that he would be kept against his will. There was never any court proceedings to confine P. If so, is the nursing home liable for exemplary (punitive) damages? Rule Facts (1) P, who had had many physical problems, was put in nursing home at age 67. he Nursing home clearly had the intent to imprison. Went to great length to make sure he doesn’t leave. Nursing Home acted in utter disregard for P’s legal rights. All the facts point to this along with the admissions papers. He was held against his will eventhough he demanded to be released. He was told that he must obey the rules of the house. P was put in Wing 3 even though he did not belong – did not fit the category. Without adequate legal justification Held: Nursing home is guilty of False Imprisonment. However, amount of damages were excessive (more than what plaintiff asked for). Court offered Nursing home a remittitur to which D accepted. Procedure: Newman sued nursing home for actual and exemplary damages for False Imprisonment. Newman won. Nursing Home appealing ruling. exemplary damages: often called punitive damages; damages requested and/or awarded in a lawsuit when D’s willful acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless remittitur: a judge's order reducing a judgment awarded by a jury when the award exceeds the amount asked for by the plaintiff (person who brought the suit).
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