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Weaver v. Ward

    Brief Fact Summary. In an action for trespass, Weaver sued Ward for assault and battery, the result of injuries sustained during a military exercise. The court found for the plaintiff.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Tortfeasors cannot invoke mental capacity as a defense.

    Facts. Weaver and Ward were “skirmishing for muskets” in a military exercise and Ward accidentally hurt Weaver during the struggle. Weaver, while conceding no express intention on the Defendant’s part, nevertheless sues for damages.

    Issue. Can a Defendant be held strictly liable for certain tortious acts?

    Held. Yes. In certain civil actions the only issue is the factual matter of actual harm.

    Discussion. The standard between criminal and civil actions differs; in the latter, at issue is the action and harm involved (more than the mental state), i.e., the issue of damages is measured strictly in terms of hurt or loss. The analysis is a factual one, involving the questions: 1) whether Defendant acted; and 2) whether Plaintiff was injured in some way as a result of that action. Ward is the initial case, which outlined the theory of strict liability.


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