STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR FALSE ARREST: DUNN V. FELTY (SC 6/21/2007)

DUNN V. FELTY
LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS:  ACCRUAL FOR FALSE ARREST OR IMPRISONMENT
2005-SC-000295-DG.pdf
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
MAJORITY OPINION BY MCANULTY
LOWER: JEFFERSON COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 6/21/2007

The S.Ct. affirms the TC dismissal of appellant’s false imprisonment and excessive force claims b/c he filed suit within one year after the acquittal but about 17 months after the actual arrest and release.

In sum, appellant alleges that, in an apparent case of mistaken identity, Officer Todd Felty assaulted, pinned, choked and struck him while investigating a domestic disturbance on 11/7/99. Appellant was arrested and charged with harassment, menacing and resisting arrest; on 4/24/00, a jury acquitted him on the menacing and resisting arrests charges while the court directed a verdict of acquittal on the harassment charge. Appellant filed suit on 4/4/01 against the City of Louisville, Officer Felty and other officers alleging false imprisonment; excessive force; malicious prosecution; outrageous conduct; and failure to train and supervise. On defendants’ motion, the TC dismissed the false imprisonment; excessive force; and failure to train and supervise on SOL grounds. TC also granted SJ on the outrageous conduct claim and dismissed all officers except Felty. A jury returned a verdict in appellees’ favor on the malicious prosecution claim. Appellant appealed the dismissal of the false imprisonment; excessive force; and failure to train and supervise claims. CA upheld the TC, holding that the SOL runs from the date of arrest or the termination of imprisonment; the S.Ct. now upholds the CA.

S.Ct. holds that appellant’s false imprisonment ended when he became held pursuant to legal process, i.e., when he was arraigned. Based upon the elements of false imprisonment, he had a complete cause of action at that point. In contrast to the tort of malicious prosecution, favorable determination of criminal proceedings is not an element of false imprisonment. Thus, he did not need to wait to file. He should have filed and, if necessary, the civil action could be stayed until after the adjudication of the criminal action.

Digested by John Hamlet

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