Spivey v. Battaglia case brief summary (Florida - 1972)
Brief Fact Summary
Brief Fact Summary
Petitioner suffered a sharp pain, followed by paralysis on the left side of her face, after Respondent put his arm around her in a "friendly, unsolicited hug." Petitioner brought suit against the respondent for negligence and assault and battery.
Rules (Assault and Battery)
"...[A]n assault and battery is not negligence, for such action is unintentional, while negligence connotes an unintentional act." Additionally, "negligence is a relative term and its existence must depend in each a case upon the particular circumstances which surround the parties at the time and place of the events upon which the controversy is based."
Issue: Whether the petitioner’s action could be maintained on the negligence count, or whether respondent’s conduct amounted to assault & battery as a matter of law, which would bar the suit under the two-year Statute of Limitations (which had run)?
Holding: Yes, the petitioner’s action could be maintained on the negligence count, which the jury would decide if the respondent’s actions are negligent or not.
- “an assault & battery is not negligence, for such action is intentional, while negligence connotes an unintentional act.”
- The settled law is that a D becomes liable for reasonably foreseeable consequences, though the exact results & damages were not contemplated
- Reasonable man test – it is not certain that a reasonable man in the shoes of D’s position would believe that the bizarre results herein were “substantially certain” to follow – SC said this is unreasonable conclusion & is application of the rule in McDonald
Further Class Notes:
- Harmful contact is apparent = intentional hug and pulled P towards D and paralysis of face
- Negligence v. Battery
- Negligence is unintentional while Battery requires intent
- Two conflicting causes of action – let the court decide which one is right and throw out the other C of A
- This court looks at the knowledge portion of the intent requirement.
- Did D have knowledge with substantial certainty that his conduct would hurt the P
- Was it foreseeable by a reasonable person that the result of the D’s actions would have occurred?
- Court said no
- Negligence v. Intent
- Where the consequences foreseeable based on the conduct? – N
- At a certain point foreseeablity runs into knowledge of substantial certainty
- Where does this occur is not clear
- What the court is doing is going on policy, they are at least trying to give the P a chance for recovery through negligence since.
- The court did not analyze the other way intent can be determined, which the D did willfully and purposely made his actions