Citation. Garratt v. Dailey, 46 Wn.2d 197 (Wash. 1955)
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Brief Fact Summary.
Hudson (Plaintiff) was injured in an unlicensed boxing match conducted by Craft (Defendant). Defendant did not obtain a license and did not observe the rules and regulations. Plaintiff consented to the boxing match.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A boxing promoter is liable for the boxers’ injuries in an unlicensed boxing match, regardless of whether or not the boxers consented.
Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant for injuries sustained in an unlicensed boxing match. Defendant was conducting a carnival where one of the concessions consisted of boxing exhibitions. These boxing exhibitions were in violation of section 412 of the Penal Code and the Business and Professions Code (chap. 2 div. 8), because prizes and prize money was given to boxing contestants and no license had been obtained. Defendant offered Plaintiff $5 to engage in a boxing match. Plaintiff suffered personal injuries as the result of being struck by his opponent. Plaintiff was 18 years old. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant to recover for the injuries he sustained. The lower court ordered a judgment of dismissal, because of Plaintiff’s failure to amend their complaint, after a demurrer was sustained with leave to amend. Plaintiff appealed.
Is an unlicensed boxing promoter liable for the injuries of the boxers in the boxing match regardless of the rights and consent of the boxers?
Yes. Judgment reversed.
* The majority view states that when consent is mutual, both parties can recover from the other for battery. The minority view, taken from Restatements of Torts, states that mutual consent prevents a touching from being tortious. The court held that the facts of this case fall under the exception to the rule in the Restatement.
* Under the exception to the rule, when it is a crime to inflict an invasion upon a class of persons and the policy of the law is to protect the interest of such a class of persons from the inability to appreciate the consequences of such an invasion, and is not solely to protect the interest of the public, the assent of such a person to such an invasion is not a consent thereto. In this case, Defendant’s conduct constituted a crime. Many boxing regulations were not followed. One of the chief goals of the rules and regulations of boxing matches is to provide safeguards for the protection of the boxers. In this case, Plaintiff, a boxer, is a member of the class to be protected by the rules and regulations. Thus, under the exception to the rule in the Restatement, Plaintiff’s consent to the boxing match does not relieve Defendant from liability.
In this case Plaintiff’s consent did not release Defendant from liability because Defendant did not obtain a license and was in violation of the rules and regulations pertaining to boxing matches. Defendant is liable for the injuries sustained by Plaintiff as a matter of public policy. Public policy protects Plaintiff, a boxer, from the inability to appreciate the consequences of a boxing match.