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Big Town Nursing Home, Inc. v. Newman

Texas Court of Civil Appeals
461 S.W.2d 195 (1970)


Facts

Newman (plaintiff), a 67-year-old retired printer with Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, heart trouble, a voice impairment and a hiatal hernia, was taken to Big Town Nursing Home (nursing home) (defendant) by his nephew. The admission documents stated that Newman would not be forced to remain in the nursing home against his will for any length of time. Newman decided he wanted to leave and tried to call a taxi, when he was advised he could not use the phone or have visitors without the manager’s permission. Newman walked out of the nursing home but was forced back to the nursing home and locked in a wing with senile patients, drug addicts, alcoholics, and mentally ill residents. He tried to escape five or six times but each time he was caught and brought back against his will. On one occasion, he was locked and taped in a restraint chair for more than five hours. The nursing home did not have a court order for his confinement. Finally, Newman escaped and caught a ride to Dallas where he called a taxi to take him to a friend’s house. Newman sued the nursing home for false imprisonment and won a judgment against the nursing home for actual and exemplary damages. The nursing home appealed. 

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McDonald, C.J.)

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