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Alvarado v. City of Dodge City

708 P.2d 174 (1985)

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Alvarado v. City of Dodge City

Kansas Supreme Court

708 P.2d 174 (1985)

Facts

Lorraine Alvarado (plaintiff) was shopping for shoes at Alco Discount Store (Alco) (defendant). Alco hired Robert Fox (defendant), an off-duty policeman, as a security guard for the store. While Alvarado was shopping, she tried on a pair of shoes. After she tried them on, Fox went over to where Alvarado tried on the shoes and saw the shoes’ tag on the floor. Alvarado then left the store, and Fox asked her to come back in. Alvarado initially refused, but she ultimately went back in involuntarily while the store inspected whether the shoes were stolen. Alvarado brought suit against Alco, Fox, and the City of Dodge City (defendant), Fox’s employer, for false imprisonment. During the trial, the court instructed the jury on merchant’s defense, instructing that if a merchant has probable cause to believe a shopper has stolen, the merchant may detain the shopper for a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner. The court did not instruct the jury as to the definition of probable cause. The jury found for the store, and Alvarado appealed. Upon her first appeal, the jury’s decision was reversed and remanded for a new trial. Alco petitioned the Kansas Supreme Court to review the matter.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Prager, J.)

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