Question: Catherine Ray and her husband were flying from Oakland California
Catherine Ray and her husband were flying from Oakland, California, to Dallas, Texas, in 2006 when their American Airlines plane was rerouted to Austin, Texas, because of bad weather in Dallas. Their flight landed in Austin around noon, refueled, and began to depart, but the weather problems had then closed the Dallas airport. After an hour on the ground, a bus took some passengers to the terminal, but Ray and her husband chose not to deplane because, according to Ray’s testimony, the pilot said the flight would likely resume in about an hour and anyone who left the plane “would be on their own,” a remark Ray interpreted to mean that departing passengers would need to fund their further transportation, something the Rays could not afford. Two to three hours later another bus arrived and, according to Ray, passengers were told that bus offered their last chance for departure. The Rays decided to remain on the plane. Catherine Ray testified that deteriorating conditions on the plane included little food and drink, agitated passengers, and at least some nonfunctioning lavatories. About 6 pm, the pilot said he could no longer fly because he had reached his maximum duty hours. Lightning in Austin delayed ground crew work, but at about 9 pm, the plane was taken to a gate where Ray and all other passengers deplaned. Sometime after deplaning, food and lodging vouchers were provided. Ray and her husband decided to spend the night in the terminal. They flew from Austin the following morning. Ray subsequently filed a civil action for false imprisonment, among other claims. How would you rule on that claim? Explain.
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