Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nelson v. Carroll case brief

Nelson v. Carroll
735 A.2d 1096 (Md. 1999)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Appellant challenged the Court of Special Appeals' (Maryland) decision in his battery tort action.

-Defendant shot (P) in the stomach in the course of an argument over a debt that was owed to defendant by plaintiff.
-Defendant, who was said to be a "little tipsy," demanded that the plaintiff repay him.
-Plaintiff immediately offered to make a partial payment but the offer was unsatisfactory to defendant.
-The plaintiff had testified that the defendant pulled out his pistol and said that he wanted all of his money, and that the next thing that plaintiff knew, he heard a shot and noticed that he was bleeding.
-The defense argued that the actual gunshot accidentally occurred.
-The Plaintiff argued that the circuit court, at trial, should have granted his motion for judgment as to liability, with the only question that remained for the jury being damages that resulted from the guns' discharge.

The defendant's claim of "accident," under the circumstances, was not a defense, and the motion for judgment as to liability should have been granted.

-A BATTERY occurs when one intends a harmful or offensive contact with another without that person's consent. The act in question must be some positive or affirmative action on the part of the defendant.
-An indirect contact, such as occurs when a bullet strikes a victim, may constitute a battery. It is enough that the defendant sets a force in motion which ultimately produces the result.
-Some form of intent is required for battery.
-The intent required is not a specific intent to cause the type of harm that occurred.

CONCLUSION: The court reversed and remanded; holding that the motion for judgment as to liability on the (P's) claim for battery should have been granted, with the only question that remained for the jury being damages.

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  1. He was shot in the face, not in the stomach.

    1. Ummm. Case book for law school and case actually says stomach...


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