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Castro v. Local 1199, National Health & Human Services Employees Union

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Castro filed suit against Local 1199, National Health & Human Services Employees Union (Union) and Steve Franko (Franko) when Franko threatened Castro to take unusual assignments at the Union because her job was at stake.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff must prove that the defendant placed the plaintiff in apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact in order to recover for assault.

    Facts.

    Castro, an employee of Local 1199, National Health & Human Services Employees Union (Union), was not given her typical assignments when she returned to work from extended disability leave. Castro met with her boss and Steve Frankel (Frankel) to question why she wasn’t given her typical assignments. Frankel yelled at Castro warning her to take what she gets, because she could lose more than her job, while moving his chair closer to Castro. When Castro asked if Frankel was threatening her, Frankel informed Castro to take anything he wants. Franko filed suit and the Union filed summary judgment.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff must prove that the defendant placed the plaintiff in apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact in order to recover for assault?

    Held.

    Yes. Frankel’s motion for summary judgment is granted. Frankel’s threats were not imminent, but would come at an unidentified point in the future, and therefore does not constitute assault.

    Discussion.

    A plaintiff must prove that the defendant intentionally placed the plaintiff in apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact in order to recover for assault. Mere words that are not followed by an action that can cause imminent bodily harm will not allow a plaintiff to recover for assault.


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