Importance of Timely Filing: A Case Study on False Arrest and False Imprisonment Claims

prison_fence_razor_ribbon_0-scaledFiling a claim in court requires careful consideration of the appropriate time frame, as it can significantly impact the success of a lawsuit. This is particularly crucial when dealing with actions such as false arrest and false imprisonment, where prescription periods play a significant role. 

In a noteworthy case involving Marlon Eaglin, Powell, Deontrey Moten, and David Little, who were charged with attempted murder, the defendants’ release led to the filing of a petition for false arrest and false imprisonment. However, the defendants raised an exception of prescription, arguing that the claims had exceeded the prescribed time limit. This case is a stark reminder of the importance of understanding and adhering to the applicable time frame when seeking justice in court.

An attempted murder charge was brought against Marlon Eaglin, Powell, Deontrey Moten, and David Little by the Eunice Police Department. The defendants were arrested on May 4, 2015, and released on August 21, 2015. 

In April 2016, Mr. Marlon Eaglin filed a petition for false arrest and imprisonment. In May 2016, Mr. Powell added to the lawsuit. The defendants opposed and filed an exception of prescription, which claimed Mr. Powell’s claims had been prescribed a year after his arrest date. The defendant’s exception of prescription was granted because (1) the addition did not relate back to the original petition because there was no legal or familial relationship between the parties and (2) the prescription time for false imprisonment allegedly began on the date of arrest and not on the date of release. 

According to La. C. C. P. art. 927(B), an exception of prescription must be specifically stated and be proven at trial. If prescription is established, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show otherwise. The duration of the prescription is dependent on the type of action. Personal actions have a ten-year timeframe. Delictual actions are subject to one year, which begins the day of injury or damage. La. C. C. art. 3492. Mr. Powell argued the trial court erred in finding the prescription on his claim began to accrue on the date of arrest. After thorough research, the court agreed. 

In De Bouchel v. Koss Const. Co., case, the Louisiana Supreme Court held “a person who suffered false imprisonment was subject to a subject liberative prescription of one year. Employing the De Bouchel holding, the court in Murray v. Town of Mansura found the prescriptive period for a claim of false arrest and imprisonment accrued on the date of release. Thus the Louisiana Supreme Court recognized that the time frame for prescription to accrue for false arrest and false imprisonment is on the day of release. Wallace v. Kato

In common law, the classification of false arrest and false imprisonment intersect. Thus the court refers to the torts together as false imprisonment. The timeframe for false imprisonment is subject to a one-year limitation. Limitations begin to run against an action for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment ends. This is likely the case because the tort victim may be unable to sue while still imprisoned. Thus, the prescription on Mr. Powell’s claim for false arrest and imprisonment did not begin until he was released on August 21, 2015. 

The outcome of the case above underscores the criticality of filing claims within the prescribed time frame. While the defendants successfully utilized the exception of prescription to challenge the addition of Mr. Powell’s claims, the court ultimately recognized the error in determining the accrual date for the prescription period. 

This ruling reaffirms the legal precedent that false arrest and false imprisonment claims commence upon release and highlights the significance of thorough research and competent legal representation. It serves as a compelling reminder that navigating the intricacies of the legal system requires diligent attention to detail and a comprehensive understanding of relevant laws and precedents. By recognizing the impact of timely filing, individuals can better position themselves for success in their legal endeavors.

Additional Sources: Marlon Eaglin Versus Eunice Police Department, Et Al

Written by Berniard Law Firm Blog Writer: Needum Lekia

Other Berniard Law Firm Articles on Prescription: Prescription Limits Discussed in Case Coming from Baton Rouge Fall

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