Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weaver v. Ward case brief summary

Weaver v. Ward (Kings Bench, 1616)
Subject: Fault

Relevant Facts— Ward and Weaver were soldiers practicing military maneuvers when Ward’s musket discharged and injured Weaver. Accepted that Ward did not intentionally fire the weapon. 
Issue— Is a soldier liable for the damage to another during military skirmishes through no intent of harm?

HoldingA man will never be excused for trespass unless it is judged entirely without his fault.

Reasoning— Criminal responsibility is determined by the intent of the perpetrator, but even a lunatic can be held liable for the punitive damages of his actions even if he has no intent to harm others or their property. Only in the case of a man running into the path of a firing musket etc is the defendant without negligence.

Judgment/Disposition— judgment for the plaintiff


  1. Weaver v. Ward case brief summary (case notes)
    Citation: Hobart 134, 80 Eng. Rep. 284 (K.B. 1616).

    Case Facts:
    Two members of a military unit were involved in a drill. While discharging his weapon during the drill, the Defendant accidentally injured the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff then brought a suit for assault and battery.

    When an injury results from a person's actions, that person will be held liable for that injury unless he or she can prove that no fault lies with him/her whatsoever in the matter.

    In the course of a military skirmishing drill, the Defendant discharged his weapon. Although the Defendant had no intention of the result of the weapon's discharge, his weapon caused injury to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff then brought suit against Defendant. Defendant argued that he was not liable for the injury because it was unintentional and was not his fault. Plaintiff demurred and was awarded damages.

    Was Plaintiff properly awarded damages despite Defendant's argument that theinjury was inflicted by accident?

    Yes. The Court affirmed the award, finding Defendant had failed to prove he was
    totally blameless.

    1• One may escape liability for an injury he has inflicted when he was utterly faultless in inflicting the injury, but it is his burden to prove his total lack of fault.

    This case shows the beginnings of possible defenses in the tort system. This marks a progression from Anonymous [Y.B. Edw. IV, folio 7, placitum 18 (K.B. 1466).], in which a more absolute rule was stated. It is important to note, however, that it is the Defendant's burden to plead and prove this defense; one the court found he failed to carry.

  2. how can i cite this in bluebook format?


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