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Bradley v. Hunter

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The mother of decedent’s children sues a restaurant owner, on the behalf of the children, for wrongful death.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Self-defense is a complete defense to an intentional tort claim when a defendant uses a force he or she reasonably believed was necessary to prevent a harm.

    Facts.

    Aurila Hunter (Defendant) worked in restaurant owned by her 82-year-old mother. 28-year-old J.W. Bradley (Bradley), who frequented the restaurant, became upset with Defendant’s mother and left the restaurant. Bradley returned to the restaurant in a rage, and Defendant shot him in the head. Susie Mae Bradley (Plaintiff) sued Defendant for wrongful death on behalf of Bradley’s four children.

    Issue.

    Whether self-defense is a complete defense to an intentional tort claim when a defendant uses a force he or she reasonably believes is necessary to prevent a harm.

    Held.

    Yes. Self-defense is a complete defense to an intentional tort when a defendant uses a force he or she reasonably believes is necessary to prevent a harm. A defendant who reasonably believes that he or she is being threatened with deadly force can respond with deadly force to protect himself or herself against a harm.

    Discussion.

    Determining the reasonableness of the use of deadly force in a self-defense case is examined on case-by-case basis. Factors used to determine the reasonableness are the following: age, size, and strength of parties involved, history of violence, criminal record for each party, which party was the aggressor, and if any weapons were involved.



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