Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Talmage v. Smith case brief summary

Talmage v. Smith case brief summary
Michigan – 1894

  Is a person who unintentionally injures a trespasser able to be held liable for tortious conduct? (in this case A&B)

  Yes, the D can be liable for an action of A&B even if the D did not intend to hit the P.
  • The doctrine of “transferred intent” – originally derived from criminal law
    • For example, D shots or throws a rock at A and unintentionally hits B
  • Transferred intent applies whenever both the intended tort & resulting harm fall within the scope of the old action of trespass – that is where both involve the direct and immediate application of force to the person or to tangible property
    • When the D intends any of the writs of trespass and accomplishes any of  them, the doctrine applies and the D is liable even if the P was not the intended target
    • When either the tort intended or the one accomplished does not fall within the trespass action, the doctrine does not apply
      • i.e. D committed murder in P’s house and P sought the value of the house because the family refused to live there after the murder
  • The right of the P to recover was made to depend upon an intention on the part of the D to hit somebody, & to inflict an unwarranted injury upon someone. 
  • Under the above circumstances, the fact that the injury resulted to another than intended does not relieve the D from responsibility

Class Notes:
The doctrine of transferred intent carries over in 2 cases:
  • If D intends to commit a tort of:
    • Assault
    • Battery
    • False Imprisonment
    • Trespass of Land, or
    • Trespass of Chattel,
Against a person and D commits one of the other torts other than the one they intended then the doctrine of transferred intent applies
      • i.e. D intends to hit a person with a stick (battery) and ducks and the stick misses (assault)
  • If D intends to commit a tort of:
    • Assault
    • Battery
    • False Imprisonment
    • Trespass of Land, or
    • Trespass of Chattel,
Against one person and it occurs on another party then the doctrine of transferred intent applies
    • i.e. intend to shot A (battery), but B gets shot
In this case, an assault was intended, but a battery was committed
***Doctrine of transferred intent does not apply to the tort of conversion or intentional infliction of emotional distress
     therefore the original tort and the subsequent tort that occurs can neither be the tort of conversion or IIED
*** The doctrine of transferred intent only carries over if the originally intended tort does not occur.

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1 comment:

  1. Talmage v Smith
    (Supreme Court of Michigam, 1894)

    Case Facts---- Smith owns land with sheds in the back. He walked up to his sheds and saw 6 or 8 boys playing on them and ordered them down. He went to another shed and saw two more boys who he also told to get down. He claims to have not seen the plaintiff two of the boys started to get down at once, he threw a stick in the direction of the boys before they could get down. The stick missed the intended target and hit Talmage in the eye. The damage made him lose sight in that eye permanently.

    Procedural History---- Jury ruled unreasonable and a verdict for the plaintiff.

    Issue---- Can intent be transferred from one party to another?

    Holding----- Upheld jury verdict, for the plaintiff.

    Reasoning---- Defendant intended to hit someone with the stick… which is unreasonable force under the circumstances. He knew with substantial certainty there could be injury. The fact that the injury occurred to another party than was intended does not clear him of the responsibility.

    Judgment/ Resulting Rule--- Doctrine of transferred intent. (intent can be transferred)


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