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The tort of civil battery, again an intentional tort, occurs when one “intents” that her act will bring about harmful or offensive contact with another and that harmful or offensive contact occur. An issue may arise in battery, as it may also in assault, as to whether the other party consented to the act, such as consenting to rough play, within the rules, in football.

An offensive contact battery will ordinarily be a slight contact, such as shooting an unconsenting person with a water pistol, or knocking off their hat (not in play), or spitting on them. A harmful contact battery is more likely to be along the lines of striking someone with a stick.

The actor’s intent must be the same as with all intentional torts; i.e., to subjectively desire the act, or to know to a substantial certainty that it will come about, without reference to the legal consequences. Thus for offensive contact battery spitting at one person but hitting another would be an offensive contact battery against the person spit upon, as the actor intended the act of aggressive spitting. And for harmful contact battery swinging a baseball bat intending only to frighten one person, but hitting another, would be a harmful contact battery against the person hit. The reason? The actor subjectively desired to, or knew to a substantial certainty that, his coordinated efforts would result in swinging the bat.

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