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  • Coblyn v. Kennedy’s, Inc.Coblyn v. Kennedy’s, Inc.
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Coblyn v. Kennedy’s, Inc.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
268 N.E.2d 860 (1971)



Coblyn (plaintiff) was a seventy-year-old man shopping in the Kennedy’s, Inc. (Kennedy’s) (defendant) department store. Coblyn was wearing a topcoat and ascot purchased from different stores. While trying on sports coats, Coblyn removed the ascot, placing it in the pocket of the top coat. After making his purchase, Coblyn donned his topcoat and proceeded to the exit. He removed the ascot from his pocket and wrapped it around his neck. Suddenly, Goss, an employee of Kennedy’s, confronted Coblyn about where he had purchased the ascot. Goss grabbed Coblyn by the arm in front of other people and told him he needed to go see the store’s manager. Coblyn agreed to accompany Goss back to the cashier’s counter. The two traveled up the stairs, and Coblyn began experiencing chest and back pains and had to stop several times. Upon reaching the counter, the cashier confirmed that the ascot did belong to Coblyn. However, Coblyn was so upset by the incident that he required attention from the store’s nurse and was later hospitalized. Coblyn brought suit against Kennedy’s for false imprisonment. A jury awarded Coblyn $12,500 in damages, and Kennedy’s appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Spiegel, J.)

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