Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc. case brief

Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc. 
634 N.E.2d 697 (Ohio Ct. App. 1994)
Tort Law

Plaintiff guest brought an action against defendants, radio studio, host, and smoker, for battery, invasion of privacy, and a violation of a statute . The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas (Ohio) dismissed the guest's complaint. The guest sought review.


-A guest entered the radio studio to make a public radio appearance with the host.
-At the host's urging, the smoker repeatedly blew cigar smoke in the guest's face.
-The guest contended that his complaint was sufficient to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.


-The court held that when the smoker intentionally blew cigar smoke in the guest's face he committed a battery.

-The court held that no matter how trivial the incident, a battery was actionable, even if damages were only one dollar.
-The court held that the guest's other claims, invasion of his privacy and violation of a local non-smoking regulation, were not sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.
-The regulation created rights for nonsmokers that did not exist at common law. There was no implied private remedy for violation of the non-smoking regulation because sanctions were provided to enforce the regulation.

-An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other, and a harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results; or an offensive contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.
-In determining if a person is liable for a battery, the Ohio Supreme Court has adopted the rule that contact which is offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity is offensive contact.
-It has defined "offensive" to mean "disagreeable or nauseating or painful because of outrage to taste and sensibilities or affronting insultingness.
-Furthermore, tobacco smoke, as "particulate matter, has the physical properties capable of making contact

The court affirmed the portion of the judgment dismissing the guest's claims of invasion of privacy and violation of a local smoking regulation but reversed the dismissal of the battery claim. The court remanded the cause for further proceedings.

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