Friday, December 14, 2012

Weaver v. Ward Case Brief

Weaver v. Ward
Citation. Hobart 134, 80 Eng. Rep. 284 (K.B. 1616).
Two members of a military unit were involved in a drill. While discharging his weapon during the drill, Defendant accidentally injured Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought suit for assault and battery.
When injury results from one's actions, he will be held liable for that injury unless he can prove no fault whatsoever in the matter.
FACTS In the course of a military skirmishing drill, Defendant discharged his weapon. Although Defendant had no intention that it did so, his weapon caused injury to Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant. Defendant argued that he was not liable for the injury because it was unintentional and was not his fault. Plaintiff demurred and was awarded damages.
Was Plaintiff properly awarded damages despite Defendant's argument that the injury was inflicted by accident?
HOLDING Yes. The Court affirmed the award, finding Defendant had failed to prove he was totally blameless.
  1. One may escape liability for an injury he has inflicted when he was utterly faultless in inflicting the injury, but it is his burden to prove his total lack of fault.

This case shows the beginnings of possible defenses in the tort system. This marks a progression from [Anonymous] (Y.B. Edw. IV, folio 7, placitum 18 (K.B. 1466)) where a more absolute rule was stated. It is important to note, however, that it is the Defendant's burden to plead and prove this defense; one the court found he failed to carry.

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