Cole v. Turner
Nisi Prius, 1704. 6 Modern Rep. 149, 90 Eng.Rep. 958.
- Touching another in anger.
- Violence against another that causes harm.
Batter is not:
- Touching without violence or design of harm.
Wallace v. Rosen
Court of Appeals of Indiana, 2002. 765 N.E.2d 192.
Wallace is the plaintiff while Rosen is the defendant.
Wallace lost in the trial court and appealed.
Was the trial court correct in removing a part of the battery instruction?
- Intended contact
- and touching in a rude, violent, or angry manner
There is not enough evidence to overturn the trial court’s decision to exclude a certain part of the battery instruction.
Rosen was a teacher. Wallace was a parent of a student. Wallace had come to the school to deliver some homework. Suddenly, the fire alarm went off and Rosen began escorting students down the hall. She approached Wallace who couldn’t hear her. So, she tried to turn Wallace who then fell down the stairs.
The court begins by defining what a battery is and what it is not. Because battery is so dependent on intent, they also define intent. Here, the court says that a battery is when you intend to touch somebody in a rude, angry, or violent manner. However, the court also accounts that touching in this society is sometimes unavoidable, especially in a crowded environment. Therefore, the touching in this instance may be seen as justified and there was no indication that the contact was rude, violent, or angry.
Restatement (Second) of Torts (1965)
§13. Battery: Harmful Contact
Liable for battery if:
- Intend to cause a harmful or offensive contact, and
- harmful contact (direct or indirect) occurs
§18. Battery: Offensive Contact
Liable for battery if:
- Intends to cause a harmful or offensive contact,
- harmful contact (direct or indirect) occurs
- Not liable for battery if no intention to cause harm but offensive (not harmful) contact occurs.
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.
Supreme Court of Texas, 1967. 424 S.W.2d 627.
Fisher is the plaintiff and Carrousel Motor Hotel is the defendant.
Jury found in favor of the plaintiff but the judge overruled in favor of the defendants. As a result, the plaintiff appealed.
Was the judge wrong to execute judgement in favor of the defendants?
It is not necessary to touch a person to constitute an assault or battery. Instead, you could be found liable for touching a thing attached to the person.
Yes, the judge was wrong to execute judgement. Therefore, the judgement is reversed, and the damages rewarded by the jury stands.
Plaintiff is a black man who is employed by NASA and was at the hotel for meetings. While in line at the buffet, a worker of the hotel snatched at the plaintiff’s plate and shouted a racist slur saying that they don’t serve black men at the hotel. The jury provided damages for the incident but the judge directed judgement for the defendants.
This is a battery. You do not need to be touching a person to constitute an assault or battery. Instead, you can be found liable for touching a thing attached to a person. This is because the “intentional snatching of an object from one’s hand is as clearly an offensive invasion of his person as would be an actual contact with the body.”
I de S et ux. v. W de S
At the Assizes, 1348. Y.B.Lib.Ass. folio 99, placitum 60.
A man was hammering at a store with a hatchet. The wife of the plaintiff stuck her head out of the window yelling to stop upon which the man with the hatchet swung at her, but missed.
Although there was no harm done, the man was charged because he “made an assault upon the woman.” So, the plaintiff can recover damages. This is the “great-grandparent” of all assault cases.
Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Hill
Court of Appeals of Alabama, 1933. 25 Ala.App. 540, 150 So. 709.
J.B. Hill, filing on behalf of his wife as plaintiff. Western Union Telegraph as defendant.
Judgement for the plaintiff, defendant appeals.
Did the employee commit assault?
- Unlawful intention to touch another
- Create in the mind of the victim the fear of battery
- The offender has the ability to enforce battery if they weren’t prevented
1 and 2 of the rule is met, but 3 is not? Reversed? Will be cleared up during lecture.
* Notes from lecture. This initial assumption is correct. It was reversed because Sapp was not acting in the scope of his employment.
Mrs. Hill needed a clock fixed and Mr. Sapp was one who fixed clocks. Mrs. Hill went to Mr. Sapp for repair who was impaired at the time. He propositioned her, and reached for her but she jumped back out of reach. Therefore, Mr. Hill filed suit for assault.
Assault require the three things listed above. Mr. Sapp obviously had the intention to have unlawful touching and the victim had the fear of battery. However, because the counter was too high and too long, there was no opportunity for the offender to enforce the battery. Therefore, there was no assault? Confirm during lecture.
*Notes from lecture: The question isn’t whether he had no opportunity to commit the battery. Instead, we want to look at the mind the plaintiff was in. The measurements are important because it removes a possibility, but both need to be addressed. In other words, this is an issue for the jury to discuss.
We begin by finishing up intentional torts by reviewing Talmage v. Smith. In this case, Smith owned a shed and threw a stick at Byron Smith. However, it missed and hit Talmage. The jury was instructed to find 1 of 3 options.
- If you find that he did not intend to hit any boy, but instead just frighten, Smith cannot be found liable.
- If you find that he did intend to throw the stick at the boy, but it wasn’t unreasonable, then he is not liable.
- Because this is his property, he can make contact as long as it is reasonable. Otherwise, he would be held liable.
- Finally, if you find that he intended to hit one of the boys and the force was excessive, then this is unlawful and Smith can be found liable.
Takeaway from Smith
If you aim a tort towards one individual and hit another. You are guilty of a tort through “transferred intent.” This is a legal fiction, but it is used frequently in practice.
Torts will transfer from person to person, and tort to tort.
A battery requires:
- Touching in anger
- Angry touching causes harm
We now turn to Wallace. Here, Wallace was harmed and wanted the court to give an instruction on battery. The court refused to do so. Note, instructions are a very important part of a torts case. Here, the judge says that no reasonable jury would find the evidence convincing. The role of a jury is to find the facts when the minds of reasonable people may differ.
Takeaway from Wallace
You can’t have a reckless battery. There are three tiers Negligence, recklessness, substantial certainty, intent. However, substantial certainty is an intentional tort. Recklessness does not cross the threshold into intentional tort.
Duel intent: When you have to consider the interests of both parties. Here, there is duel intent because in a crowded world, this action is seen as reasonable.
The trial judge is a filter between the lawyers and the jury. Importantly, their goal is to ensure that all the rules are being followed. All they do is ensure the rules are being followed.
The content contained in this article may contain inaccuracies and is not intended to reflect the opinions, views, beliefs, or practices of any academic professor or publication. Instead, this content is a reflection on the author’s understanding of the law and legal practices.