If one who is guilty of the tort of false imprisonment is benefited by the labor which his victim is compelled to perform, he may, at the option of the plaintiff, be held responsible in assumpsit for work and labor for the reasonable value of the services rendered.1 This rule has been applied to one who compelled a free negro to work as a slave,2 and to a prison-labor contractor;3 and in one case in which the plaintiff had been wrongfully held as a lunatic and " let out" for profit by the overseers of the poor, he was permitted to recover from the township, in an action for money had and received, the sum paid for his services.1
1 Patterson v. Prior, 1862, 18 Ind. 440; 81 Am. Dec. 367; Abbot v. Town of Fremont, 1887, 34 N. H. 432; Negro Peter v. Steel, 1801, 3 Yeates (Pa.) 250.
2 Negro Peter v. Steel, 1801, 3 Yeates (Pa.) 250.
3 Patterson v. Prior, 1862, 18 Ind. 440; 81 Am. Dec. 367. But see, contra, Sloss Iron Co. v. Harvey, 1898, 116 Ala. 656; 22 So. 994.
If the defendant, though guilty of the tort of false imprisonment, in good faith has paid a third party for the services of the plaintiff, he should be liable in assumpsit only to the extent that the value of the services received by him exceeded the sum paid therefor.2