Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Garratt v. Dailey case brief summary

Garratt v. Dailey case brief summary
(Supreme Court of Washington, 1955)
Case Facts--- Brian Dailey, who is 5 years old, pulled a chair out from under Ruth Garratt. Ruth suffered a fracture of the hip. Brian said that he had moved the chair to sit in it himself, then tried to move it back when he realized she was going to sit, but was late. Medical damages amounted to $11,000. BATTERY

Procedural History--- The trial court dismissed the case, claiming Brian did not have “purpose, intent, or design” to injure the plaintiff.

Issue--- Should the case have been dismissed? Did Brian commit a tort? Was there damage to the plaintiff, and who is liable for such damage?

Holding--- Case remanded (sent back) to the original courts for clarification. They must decide whether Brian knew “with substantial certainty that the plaintiff would attempt to sit down and to change the judgment if it is warranted.

Reasoning--- It is not enough that Brian may not have intended to cause a battery. The court says that if Brian knew with a substantial certainty that the plaintiff would try to sit down in the chair that he had moved he had committed a tort and would be liable. The court does not believe the lower court examined this when making their decision. He does not have to act with volition, but has to know with a substantial certainty what will result in order for negligence to occur. 
Judgment/ Resulting Rule ---- Affirmed. In favor of plaintiff in the amount $11,000. For a tort to occur, there does not have to be volition( the act of making a choice or determining something) or intent. But instead, there is the substantial certainty of the consequences that could occur from the action. This knowledge alone is enough to decide that a tort has been committed. Trial court must do complete analysis of the tort.

* Character of Actor’s intention: If he did intend to pull the chair away then battery occurred, trial court said this was not proven.
* Restatement of Torts: an actor who commits a direct or indirect act which is the legal cause of a harmful contact with another is liable if: 1) the act is done with the intention of bringing about a harmful or offensive contact or an apprehension thereof to the other or a third person, and 2) the contact is not consented to by the other or the other’s consent thereto is procured by fraud or duress, and 3) the contact is not otherwise privileged.
* Intent requires that the act must be done for the purpose of causing the contact or apprehension or with knowledge on the part of the actor that such contact or apprehension is substantially certain to be produced.
*A battery would be established if a party acts with substantial certainty that a result will occur. The mere absence of any intent to injure, play a prank on, or embarrass the plaintiff, or to commit an assault and battery on her, would not absolve the defendant of liability if in fact he had such knowledge.

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