ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. Defendant discovered several boys playing on top of sheds on his property. Defendant demanded that they get down and most complied quickly, but Plaintiff and a few others remained on the roofs. Defendant threw a stick in the direction of a few boys on one of the roofs, but the stick missed those boys and struck and injured Plaintiff.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A Defendant’s intent to cause physical contact with one party can be considered intent to commit battery against a second party when unreasonable force is used because the Defendant has no right to commit such an act.
Issue. Was the jury properly instructed that Defendant could be liable if he intended to hit either boy and used unreasonable force?
Held. Yes. The judgment was affirmed, with costs.
* When a Defendant intends to inflict harmful or offensive contact upon one party but instead inflicts such contact upon another, he is liable for the resulting injury.
Discussion. This case introduces the doctrine of transferred intent. As the Court explains, the doctrine is based upon the notion that one should not be allowed to escape liability for wrongdoing simply because someone other than the intended target was injured. This shows once again that tort law is not overly preoccupied with intent to cause a specific injury to a specific party – the overriding concern is with wrongful conduct.