999 P.2d 814 (Colo. 2000)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Petitioner, the personal representative of the estate of alleged tortfeasor, challenged a Colorado Court of Appeals decision, which determined that a mentally incapacitated adult should be held liable for her intentional tort even though she was not able to appreciate or understand the wrongfulness of her actions.
-Alleged tortfeasor, an elderly woman placed in a personal care center, began to exhibit erratic behavior.
-She became easily agitated and acted aggressively toward others on occasion.
-On one occasion, she struck plaintiff care-giver in the jaw.
-Petitioner, a personal representative of the estate of the alleged tortfeasor, appealed the lower court's decision determining that a mentally incapacitated adult should be held liable for her intentional tort even if she was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions.
The court held that in order to recover on a theory of intentional tort, the (P) was required to prove that the actor, despite her characteristics, desired to cause both contact and offensive or harmful consequences by her act, although not the harm that actually resulted.
The court ruled that the jury had determined that there was no such intent.
-A jury can find a mentally deficient person liable for an intentional tort, but in order to do so, the jury must find that the actor intended offensive or harmful consequences.
-As a result, insanity is not a defense to an intentional tort according to the ordinary use of that term, but is a characteristic, like infancy, that may make it more difficult to prove the intent element of battery
CONCLUSION: The judgment was reversed and remanded.
The court stated that the jury had determined that alleged tortfeasor did not intend to cause offensive or harmful consequences by her act.
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