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Maniaci v. Marquette University

Supreme Court of Wisconsin
184 N.W.2d 168 (Wis. 1971)


Saralee Maniaci (plaintiff) was a freshman at Marquette University (Marquette) (defendant). Maniaci did not like the school and wanted to withdraw, so she bought a train ticket home and began packing. When notice of Maniaci’s pending departure reached Marquette administration, Dean of Women Mary Alice Cannon and Assistant Dean of Women Patricia Watson (defendants) went to Maniaci’s dorm room but were unable to convince Maniaci to stay. Dr. Dean Miller, a Marquette doctor, also came to talk with Maniaci. Cannon and Watson tried to call Maniaci’s father numerous times but could not reach him. Miller suggested that Maniaci be institutionalized for mental evaluation. Cannon and Watson agreed and filled out an Application for Temporary Custody (Application) under a Wisconsin statute that permitted emergency temporary detention of individuals who are irresponsible and dangerous. The police then took Maniaci to the mental ward of a hospital. When Maniaci’s father was finally reached, Maniaci was released from the hospital. Maniaci brought suit against the defendants for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The trial court dismissed the malicious-prosecution claim and found in favor of Maniaci on the false-imprisonment claim. Both parties appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Heffernan, J.)

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