Hilda wasn't the most feminine female. In fact, she looked so masculine that when she entered the ladies room in a movie theater, the ladies present panicked, and as if they had seen a mouse, began screaming -- over and over again -- "There's a man in the ladies room. There's a man in the ladies room." That caused Hilda to leave the ladies room -- and the movie theater -- as fast as she could.

Upon hearing the commotion, Roger, a patron in the movie theater at the time, quickly gave chase and caught up to Hilda and forcibly brought her back to the movie theater -- and to the movie theater manager -- where she had no problem establishing her gender. She had more of a problem, however, in abstracting an apology from the theater manager who would not even talk to her.

Outraged, Hilda sued the theater owner and the theater manager for false imprisonment.

"While I enjoyed the experienced of having a man chase man," Hilda told the judge, "I didn't enjoy being accused of being a man."

"I don't understand why she's suing me and my manager," protested the perplexed theater owner. "We had nothing to do with any part of the incident. It was Roger who caught up with Hilda and brought her back to the theater and questioned her. Not my manager."

If you were the judge, would you permit Hilda to collect for false imprisonment?

This is how the judge ruled: Yes! The judge held, in effect, that the failure of the manager to apologize to Hilda or rebuke Roger or to deny that Roger was an employee authorized to act for the theater, amounted to approval or ratification of Roger's actions.

-- based upon a 1932 South Carolina Supreme Court decision

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