Fojtik v. Charter Medical Corp – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Fojtik v. Charter Medical Corp., 985 S.W.2d 625 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1999, pet. denied), the plaintiff, an alcohol-rehabilitation patient, filed a false imprisonment claim arising out of the hospital's alleged refusal to allow him to leave.

Plaintiff was not physically restrained, but alleged that he was detained against his will by threats that, if he did not submit to his detention, he would be forcibly committed and "brought in in handcuffs." Fojtik, 985 S.W.2d at 630.

In deciding whether the evidence raised a question of fact, the court of appeals sought to determine "to what extent must plaintiffs insist on their freedom and have it denied to them before they can recover for false imprisonment?" Id. at 631.

After comparing the plaintiff and defendant, the court concluded that "none of the factors that are considered in evaluating whether threats are sufficient to overcome the plaintiff's free will, i.e., the relative size, age, experience, sex, and physical demeanor of the participants, weigh in Fojtik's favor." Id.

The court noted that plaintiff was not small in stature, nor was he physically restrained, and "although he was threatened with the police, there were no other factors adding to the intimidating effect of those threats." Id. Finally, the court concluded that "there is nothing in this case to suggest that Fojtik was a person whose weakness or susceptibility to intimidation might excuse his failure to insist on leaving when he felt he was falsely imprisoned." Id.

Accordingly, there was no issue of material fact which survived summary judgment. Id.