Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rougeau v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. case brief

Rougeau v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. case brief summary
274 So.2d 454 (1973)

Appellant employee sought review of a judgment of the 14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu (Louisiana), which denied him recovery in a tort action he brought against appellee employer for damages for defamation and false imprisonment. The instant action followed unsuccessful administrative complaints that were filed by the discharged employee against the employer.

The employee worked as a guard-fireman for his employer. Two lawnmowers belonging to the employer were stolen from the employer, and the employee refused to cooperate with the investigation. Subsequently, the employee brought two unsuccessful administrative actions against the company in which he complained that he was wrongfully discharged. The employee then filed a tort action in which he claimed defamation and false imprisonment.

  • The trial court found that no proof was presented that any notoriety or publication was made by the company concerning the investigation. 
  • As to the false imprisonment claim, the facts showed that the employee refused to allow agents of the employer's to search his home for the missing property, so he was asked to wait in the employer's guardhouse. 
  • The guards testified that they did not consider the employee to be a prisoner, and he spent less than 30 minutes in the guardhouse. 
  • The trial court found that the employee was not falsely imprisoned, and the court on review agreed.
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial judge that denied recovery to the employee in a tort action he filed against his employer. Costs were assessed against the employee.

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