The Sy-Fy channel’s, television show, “Alphas” focuses on the lives of superheroes known as Alphas. Alphas are not the indestructible , flight-capable , otherworldly type of superheroes that exist in comic books. However, Alphas are human beings who were born with something in their genetic makeup that grants them certain abilities not possessed by normal humans. These abilities include, but are not limited to, enhancement of the five senses, super strength (for limited periods of time) and mind control.  Furthermore, the main characters are a team of good Alphas, led by a psychiatrist (Dr. Rosen), who fight to save the world from bad Alphas. The objective of the bad Alphas is to create a world in which normal humans are subservient to Alphas. Conversely, the objective of the good Alphas is to protect humanity, and prevent world domination, by finding and capturing the bad Alphas.

In the most recent episode (air-date Sept. 24), Dani Rosen (Dr. Rosen’s daughter) – an Alpha – is sent undercover to help the police catch Stanton Parish, the show’s main antagonist.  Once Dani arrives at Stanton’s hideout, she is taken to a secluded room. The door to the room is locked and a guard is seen standing outside of the door, blocking the room’s only entrance and exit.

The legal issue that stems from this incident is, whether Dani was subject to false imprisonment due to the actions of Stanton Parish’s guards? “Alphas” is set in New York, so New York law controls this incident.  According to Curry v. City of Syracuse, 316 F.3d 324, “The elements of false arrest under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 are substantially the same as the elements under New York law. The elements of false arrest and false imprisonment claims are identical: (1) the defendant intended to confine the plaintiff, (2) the plaintiff was conscious of the confinement, (3) the plaintiff did not consent to the confinement and (4) the confinement was not otherwise privileged.”

The first element of false imprisonment, under New York law, is that the defendant intended to confine the plaintiff. In the episode, before Dani was taken to the secluded room, Stanton Parish commanded his guards to take her away. Thus, the language used by Parish showed his intention to confine Dani.

Moreover, the second element – that the plaintiff must be conscious of the confinement – was met because Dani was aware of the fact that she was locked in the secluded room. Additionally, Dani declared numerous times that she wanted to be let out of the room, once she was locked in. These events meet the requirements of consciousness.

Furthermore, according to the Curry case, a confinement is privileged when the individual, who has imprisoned another, has the legal authority to imprison another. Stanton is not a police officer, nor does he work for any law enforcement agency. Likewise, Stanton’s guards are not law enforcement agents. Therefore, because the confinement was not privileged, the fourth element of false imprisonment is met.

Finally, the element of consent is ambiguous and uncertain, when applied to this incident. In the episode, once Stanton Parish told the guard to take Dani away, Dani calmly walked away with the guard. The fact that Dani just walked away with the guard, without putting up a fight or resisting in any manner, appears to show consent. However, Dani may not have resisted because Stanton Parish and his guards (armed with guns) outnumbered her, and resistance may have led to her demise. Thus, if it is determined that Dani’s inaction was consent to the confinement, then that third element is not met. Conversely, if the surrounding circumstances are considered, then Dani may not have consented, and the third element would be met.

Upon analyzing the issue of false imprisonment it is more likely, than not, that Stanton Parish’s guards falsely imprisoned Dani. Furthermore, false imprisonment is likely met because: the guards intended to confine Dani, Dani was conscious of her confinement, the confinement was not privileged and, considering the surrounding circumstances, Dani did not consent to being confined.

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