Prince’s Briefcase: Talmage v. Smith (Hicks Torts)


Hicks Torts: Transferred Intent

Here is a case from my Torts class which explains the application of Transferred Intent to Torts, meaning the person that was not the intended target (a bystander), got hit instead which resulted in serious physical injuries. And in this case, the phrase “I didn’t mean to him” is not enough to excuse oneself from a tort.

Case Name, Citation Number, Author
Talmage v. Smith, 101 Mich. 370, 45 Am. St. Rep. 414, 59 N.W. 656 (Mich. 1894).

prince's briefcase (princesdailyjournal)Facts
–Defendant throws stick at Plaintiff (the unintended target), after requesting him and several of his friends to get off his shed.
–The stick strikes the Plaintiff in the eye and loses his sight.

Issue
Did the Defendant intend to hit the plaintiff (the unintended target)?

Rule
The fact that the injury resulted to another than was intended does not relieve the defendant from responsibility.

Explanation
The right of the plaintiff to recover was made to depend upon the intention on part of the defendant to hit somebody, and to inflict an unwarranted injury upon someone.

Notes
When the defendant intends to commit any of the five intentional torts (battery, assault, false imprisonment, trespass to land, and trespass to chattels) and accomplishes any one of them, the doctrine of transferred intent applies and the defendant is liable–even if the plaintiff was not the intended target

Prince’s Takeaway
My logic is the same as the Notes.

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