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Appellant Rice Food Markets, Inc. d/b/a Pricebuster Foods appeals from an adverse judgment in a suit for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. By five issues appellant urges that (1) the jury did not answer the actual damages issue, or that the answer was too ambiguous to support a judgment, (2) the jury’s answer to the punitive damages issue was a margin note and not a damages answer, (3) the evidence was legally and factually insufficient as to false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and both actual and punitive damages. Subject to remittitur suggested to appellee, we reverse and render in part and affirm in part.


On August 2, 1995, appellee Dorothy Ramirez and two of her daughters entered appellant Rice Food Markets, Inc. d/b/a Pricebuster Foods, in Houston, to shop for groceries. When appellee and her daughters first entered the store, appellee opened a cold drink case, picked out a cold drink, opened it and drank it as she and her daughters shopped throughout the store. Before she exited the store, appellee was asked by a woman to follow her to the rear of the store. It turned out that the woman was employed by appellant as a store detective. Appellee and the store detective went to a security room in the back of the store. Appellee testified that she was then interrogated, handcuffed to a chair and left by herself. Following a period of time estimated to have been from ten to thirty minutes, she was taken to the front of the store where officers from the Houston Police Department were waiting. The officers took custody of appellee, she was photographed and then taken to jail. She was booked into jail, where she stayed until the early morning hours of August 3rd when her husband posted bond for her. Appellee was charged with theft of property of the value of less than twenty dollars. When the case was eventually called for trial in January, 1996, it was dismissed.

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