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I. de S. and Wife v. W. de S

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    Bloomberg Law

    Citation. At the Assizes, coram Thorpe, C.J., 1348 [or 1349] Year Book, Liber Assisarum, folio 99, placitum 60.

    Brief Fact Summary. After Defendant struck the door of Plaintiff’s tavern with a hatchet, Plaintiff told Defendant to stop. Defendant saw Plaintiff and struck the door with the hatchet again, but he did not hit Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Defendant for assault.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The tort of assault does not require physical contact.


    Facts. I. de S. and Wife (Plaintiffs) owned a tavern. W. de S. (Defendant) went to Plaintiffs’ tavern to buy some wine, however the tavern door was closed. Defendant struck the tavern door with a hatchet. Wife stuck her head out the window and told Defendant to stop. Defendant saw Wife and again struck with the hatchet but did not touch Wife. Plaintiffs sued Defendant for assault.

    Issue. Does the tort of assault require physical contact?

    Held. No. Judgment for Plaintiff.
    * Assault does not require physical contact. Even though Defendant did not touch Plaintiff, Defendant is liable for assault. Plaintiff is entitled to recover damages.

    Discussion. Assault is the reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.


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