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Andrews v. Peters

    Brief Fact Summary.

    While working, Plaintiff was injured because Defendant went up behind her and tapped the back of her knee with his own. This caused Plaintiff to fall and dislocate her kneecap. Defendant argued that Plaintiff had no proof that he intended to harm her.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    In a cause of action for battery, a defendant does not have to intend a plaintiff’s harm in order to be found liable.

    Facts.

    While working, Andrews (Plaintiff) was injured when her co-worker, Peters (Defendant), walked up behind her tapped the back of her knee with the front of his own. This caused Plaintiff’s knee to buckle, which made her lose her balance, fall to the floor, and dislocate her kneecap. Subsequently, Plaintiff sued Defendant for assault and battery. Plaintiff sought to recover medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and punitive damages. Defendant filed a motion for directed verdict, which was denied. After the jury awarded Plaintiff $7,500 in damages, Defendant appealed. Defendant argued that there was no evidence to prove that he intended to hurt Plaintiff.

    Issue.

    In a cause of action for battery, does a defendant have to intend that a plaintiff suffer injury in order to be found liable?

    Held.

    No. In a cause of action for battery, a defendant need not intend that a plaintiff suffer injury in order to be found liable. In this case, Defendant is liable even if he did not intend to harm Plaintiff and only intended to make a joke with his action. As such, the trial court’s judgment is affirmed.

    Discussion.

    In order for a defendant to be found liable for battery, the defendant must only intend to make a harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff. Intent to harm is not necessary for a plaintiff to recover for injury caused by the harmful or offensive contact


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