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See also Shopkeeper’s privilege.


At common law in an action for false imprisonment, the defence of probable cause, as measured by the prudent and cautious man standard, was available to a merchant. Standish v. Narragansett S.S. Co. 111 Mass. 512, 517. Jacques v. Childs Dining Hall Co. 244 Mass. 438, 439. Muniz v. Mehlman, 327 Mass. 353, 358. See Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 161, where Chief Justice Taft, speaking for the majority of a divided court, said: 'The necessity for probable cause in justifying seizures on land or sea, in making arrests without warrant for past felonies, and in malicious prosecution and false imprisonment cases has led to frequent definition of the phrase.' In enacting G. L. c. 231, § 94B, the Legislature inserted the words, 'reasonable grounds.' Historically, the words 'reasonable grounds' and 'probable cause' have been given the same meaning by the courts. In the case of United States v. Walker, 246 F. 2d 519, 526 (7th Cir.) it was said: ''Probable cause' and 'reasonable grounds' are concepts having virtually the same meaning.' The following cases have expressly stated that the words may be used interchangeably and without distinction. Draper ...

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