ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. No facts are given.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The lightest angry touch constitutes battery. A gentle touch made in close quarters with no ill intention is not a battery. A forceful or reckless touch, in close quarters is a battery.
Issue. Under what circumstances and with what mindsets may a touching constitute battery?
Held. Any degree of touching coupled with angry mindset qualifies as battery.
* A light degree of touching in circumstances that may make avoiding such a touch difficult is not a battery in the absence of negative intent.
* A reckless or violent touching is a battery, even under circumstances that make avoiding physical contact difficult.
Discussion. These early pronouncements on battery demonstrate the elements at play in determining whether a battery has occurred. Far from being a simple matter, one must look to the parties’ states of mind, the degree of contact, and their surroundings in analyzing whether a battery has occurred. It is also noteworthy that these pronouncements suggest that a party’s intentions are the most important factor in the battery analysis, as an angry mindset can render even the most minimal contact a battery.