(CN) – A 68-year-old woman can sue for false arrest after he was kicked out of an “American Idol” concert, a New York appeals court ruled.
Pauline Guntlow was attending the concert at Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., when she was ejected at the request of fellow concertgoer Marc Barbera. He told police that Guntlow had hit his wife, Alicia.
Guntlow said that Alicia and the Barberas’ 4-year-old daughter stood up during the concert, blocking their view. Guntlow said she only tapped Alicia on the shoulder and asked her to sit.
When security arrived, Barbera screamed at them that Guntlow had “assaulted (his) wife,” and after Barbera showed the security guards his state trooper badge, they arrested Guntlow for harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges were eventually dropped.
Guntlow then sued the Barberas and the Albany police department for false arrest, assault and battery, and malicious prosecution.
The trial court dismissed Guntlow’s lawsuit, but Justice Thomas Mercure of the Albany-based Third District New York Appellate Division disagreed, ruling that the police lacked probable cause to make the arrest.
“Under these circumstances, it cannot be said that, as a matter of law, there was probable cause to arrest plaintiff and, thus, her claims of false arrest and imprisonment should not have been dismissed,” Mercure wrote.