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Bouton v. Allstate Insurance Company

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Bouton sued Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate) after being acquitted of second degree murder charges that were triggered by the assault of Allstate clients.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff must experience a reasonable apprehension of imminent injury in order to succeed on an assault claim.

    Facts.

    Trammel, Landry, and Breaux went trick or treating on Halloween when they arrived at Bouton’s house. Bouton immediately shut the door when he say Breaux dressed in military garb with a fake machine gun. Bouton returned with a shotgun, and when he reopened the door, a camera flashed in Bouton’s face. Bouton fired his weapon, killing Breaux, and was indicted on two counts of second degree murder. When Bouton was acquitted, he filed assault charges against Trammel and Landry. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff must experience a reasonable apprehension of imminent injury in order to succeed on an assault claim?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The reasonable person would not have been placed in apprehension of imminent injury by children who were trick-or-treating on Halloween.

    Points of Law - for Law School Success

    The court must also determine what duty was imposed on the defendant under the particular circumstances, whether there was a breach of that duty that resulted in damages, and whether the risk which resulted in the damages was encompassed within the scope of the protection extended by the imposition of that duty.

    View Full Point of Law
    Discussion.

    A plaintiff must experience a reasonable apprehension of imminent injury in order to succeed on an assault claim. Apprehension does not mean fear, but rather he was going to be subject to immediate injury.


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