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The defense of necessity has three elements when it pertains to false imprisonment. The elements of the necessity defense in the criminal context, see Model Penal Code § 3.02, are analyzed in Arnolds and Garland, The Defense of Necessity in Criminal Law: The Right to Choose the Lesser Evil, 65 J.Crim.L. & Crim. 289 (1974).


The first element is that the defendants must have acted under the reasonable belief that there was a danger of imminent physical injury to the plaintiff or to others. Courts are split on whether an agent can rely on the reasonable beliefs of others that there is imminent physical danger. See United States v. Patrick, 532 F.2d 142, 145 (9th Cir. 1976) (trial court held beliefs of parents transfer to agents; issue not raised on appeal). But see People v. Patrick, 126 Cal.App.3d 952, 962, 179 Cal.Rptr. 276, 282-83 (1981) (agents must personally believe in justifiability of their actions and must 'take all appropriate steps necessary to investigate the reasonableness of the beliefs held by their principals in order to convince themselves of the necessity of criminal action'). State v. Johnson, 289 Minn. 196, 199-200, 183 N.W.2d 541, 543 (1971); ...

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