Friday, November 16, 2012

Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Hill case brief

Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Hill

P comes into a telegraph office managed by D, and reminds D that he is under contract to fix her clock. D, standing behind the counter says, “if you will come back here and let me love you and pet you, I will fix your clock.” D then leans across the counter, attempting to touch P.

Is there an assault here?

-It is a question for the jury whether or not the counter was so wide that D could not have leaned over and touched P. (By implication, if the counter was so wide that D could not have touched P, there could be no assault, even though P may have worried that D would have come around the counter and chased her.)

-Here, P is unaware of danger: P must be aware of the threatened contact.
-There is no assault if the plaintiff does not realize that the act has occurred.

there is no assault where the P did not know that a gun was aimed at him with
the intent to shoot him.

Threat to third persons: P must have an apprehension that she herself will
be subjected to a bodily contact. She may not recover for her apprehension
that someone else will be so touched.

Example: P sees D raise a pistol at P’s husband. D shoots and misses. P cannot recover for assault, because she did not fear a contact with her own body.

-Conditional threat: Where D threatens the harm only if P does not obey D’s
demands, the existence of an assault depends on whether D had the legal right
to compel P to perform the act in question.

P, a burglar, breaks into D’s house. D says, “If you don’t get out, I’ll throw you out.”
-There is no assault on P, since D has the legal right to force P to leave.

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