Fossen v. Clackamas County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 06-17-2015
  • Case #: A155792
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When a plaintiff brings claims of false arrest and false imprisonment, the false imprisonment claim will not be dismissed along with the false arrest claim where the false imprisonment claim arises after a valid arrest.

Plaintiff Fossen was arrested by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) after they received confirmation that a New York judge had signed an arrest warrant. Approximately six hours after booking, CCSO deputies learned that Plaintiff's fingerprints matched neither the New York suspect nor anything in the Oregon State Police or Federal Bureau of Investigation systems. Rather than releasing Plaintiff, CCSO held her until her arraignment the next day. CCSO did not disclose to the judge the fingerprints did not match, and the judge set a bail hearing. Approximately 25 hours after her arrest Plaintiff was released by a CCSO jail technician. At trial, Plaintiff brought claims for False Arrest and False Imprisonment. Defendant Clackamas County (the County) moved for a directed verdict, arguing immunity under the doctrine of quasi-judicial immunity. The court granted defendant's motion as to the false arrest claim but not for the false imprisonment claim. On appeal, the County argued that since the elements for false arrest and false imprisonment are identical, dismissal of one effectively dismisses the other. The Court held the trial court did not err in dismissing the claim for False Arrest because the arrest was made pursuant to a facially valid warrant, but because Plaintiff's claim of False Imprisonment was not predicated on a False Arrest, but rather arose later after CCSO learned fingerprints did not match, the False Imprisonment claim stood on its own. The Court further held that quasi-judicial immunity was inapplicable because although the arrest was valid, CCSO falsely imprisoned Plaintiff for a period of time after arrest but before the judge issued his order at arraignment. Affirmed.

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