Zerbe v. State
Alaska Supreme Court
578 P.2d 597 (1978)
Stephen Zerbe (plaintiff) was cited for driving an overweight truck. Zerbe’s employer convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the complaint against Zerbe, but the dismissal was not communicated to the judge. When Zerbe failed to appear for arraignment, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Five months later, Zerbe went to the police department to apply for a chauffer’s license and was served with the bench warrant. Zerbe was jailed for nine hours without being permitted a phone call. After Zerbe posted bail, he hired an attorney who had the bench warrant quashed. Zerbe then sued the state, alleging that the state’s employees negligently failed to inform the judge that Zerbe’s complaint had been dismissed and that the jail employees negligently failed to allow Zerbe to make a phone call while he was in custody. The state argued that Zerbe’s complaint, although couched in terms of general negligence, actually stated a claim for false imprisonment and was therefore barred by Alaska’s government-claims statute. The trial court found for the state, and Zerbe appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Connor, J.)
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