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Liability Imposed on Bondsman for Obtaining the Arrest of the Wrong Man
Description Bail bondsman knew he was having the police in another state arrest a man he claimed jumped bail. Jury's award to the man falsely arrested upheld on appeal for meeting the elements of malicious prosecution.
Topic Torts
Key Words Malicious Prosecution, False Imprisonment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts A man was arrested in Texas for drunk driving. He convinced police and bail bondsman Olibas that he was Michael Dean. Olibas posted a $1,500 to secure the man's release. The man failed to appear in court. Olibas lost his $1,500 and began searching for Michael Dean, who he found in Arkansas. Knowing that Michael Dean was not the man arrested in Texas, Olibas asserted to Arkansas police that Dean was the person who was wanted, and Dean was arrested. When Dean convinced Arkansas authorities that he was not the person arrested in Texas, he was released and sued Olibas for malicious prosecution. The jury awarded Dean a total of $100,000, including attorney fees. Olibas appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Under Arkansas law, for a plaintiff to show malicious prosecution there must be:
  1. "a proceeding instituted or continued by the defendant against the plaintiff;
  2. termination of the proceeding in favor of the plaintiff;
  3. absence of probable cause for the proceeding;
  4. malice on the part of the defendant; and
  5. damages."
These conditions were present, so the determination of the jury stands.
Citation Dean v. Olibas, 129 F.3d 1001 (8th Cir., 1997)

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