Monday, November 11, 2013

Mohr v. Williams case brief

Mohr v. Williams case brief summary
104 N.W. 12 (Minn. 1905)

In an action for assault and battery resulting from an operation performed on plaintiff patient, the patient appealed from an order of the District Court for Ramsey County (Minnesota) granting a new trial. Defendant surgeon challenged an order denying his motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.


The patient consented to an operation on her right ear. However, during the operation, the surgeon determined that her left ear was in a more serious condition and decided to perform an operation on the left ear only. The patient sued the surgeon for the tort of assault and battery based on a lack of consent.

The trial court awarded damages to the patient. The trial court had granted the surgeon's motion for a new trial on the ground that the patient's damages award was excessive, appearing to have been given under the influence of passion and prejudice. The trial court denied the surgeon's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.


  • On appeal, the court upheld the grant of a new trial, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant's motion for a new trial. 
  • The court then held that it was proper to deny a judgment notwithstanding the verdict because the evidence showed that the patient gave no consent for the surgery to her left ear; therefore, the operation was wrongful and unlawful.


The court affirmed the trial court's grant of new trial. The court also affirmed the order denying the surgeon's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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