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Rice University Wins Summary Judgment Ruling in False Imprisonment Lawsuit

June 19, 2015

HOUSTON — A false imprisonment lawsuit against Rice University and a university police officer has been tossed out of court following a ruling by the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston.

The appeals court found in June that the case should have been dismissed by the trial court, and that the plaintiff should be awarded nothing. The court concluded that the officer was entitled to immunity because the university officer was performing his official duties and acted in good faith.

The ruling follows another major appellate victory for Rice University in May when the Texas Supreme Court held that Rice University is entitled to immediate appellate review of whether its officers are entitled to official immunity. The Texas Supreme Court held that Rice University police officers are entitled to interlocutory review because the officers are “officers of the state” for purposes of immunity.

Attorney Lara Hollingsworth says several private Texas universities filed amicus briefs supporting Rice University in the Texas Supreme Court case. That ruling established that private schools and their police officers don't have to go through an entire trial to confirm their immunity status.

Rice University and the officer were represented in these appeals by Ms. Hollingsworth, Andy Drumheller and Rusty Hardin of Houston's Rusty Hardin & Associates.

The case is William Marsh Rice University and Rice University Police Department and Officer Henry Cash v. Michael Clayton Thomas, No. 01-14-00908-CV.

Rusty Hardin & Associates, LLP, has built a solid reputation for taking on the causes of its clients and obtaining favorable results in both civil matters and significant criminal cases. See rustyhardin.com.

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