Prof Hicks Torts: What is a Battery?
Here is a case from my Torts class which explains the concept of a battery. And in this case, a battery can be as simple as snatching a plate from one’s hand.
Case Name, Citation Number, Author
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc., 424 S.W.2d 627 (Tex. 1967)
–Plaintiff, an African American mathematician from NASA was standing in line with fellow associates for food at Carrousel Motor Hotel, when the Defendant approached him and snatched his plate away from him.
–Defendant says “Negro could not be served in the club.”
–Plaintiff was not physically touched but was highly embarrassed.
–The jury awarded the plaintiff $100 but the court set aside the verdict
Should the plaintiff be awarded punitive damages for the battery tort?
The intentional snatching of an object from one’s hand is clearly offensive as an offensive invasion of his person if it would be an actual contact with the body.
To constitute an assault and battery, it is not necessary to clutch the plaintiff’s body, knocking, or snatching anything from the plaintiff’s hand or touching anything connected with his person, when done in an offensive manner.
—Prof. Hicks Definition of a Battery: An (1) Intentional (2) Act (gesture) (3) causing a harmful or offensive contact, or an imminent apprehension of such contact , which (4) the harmful or offensive contact with the person directly or indirectly results.
–Supreme court of Texas reversed the judgment and granted Fisher $900 plus interest
–Damages for suffering are recoverable without the necessity for showing actual physical injury in a case of willful battery. *Key fact: Unpermitted and intentional invasion of the plaintiffs person and not the actual harm done to the plaintiff’s body
–No actual damages need be proved
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