Prince’s Briefcase: Wallace v. Rosen (Hicks Torts)


Professor Hicks Torts: Battery

Here is a case from my Torts class which explains the concept of a battery. In this case, minding your surroundings in a fire drill is crucial in a tort liability case.

Case Name, Citation Number, Author
Wallace v. Rosen, 765 N.E.2d 192 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002)

prince's briefcase (princesdailyjournal)Facts
–Rosen, defendant High School Teacher
–Wallace, plaintiff, mother
–There was a Fire Drill, and the plaintiff and the defendant had a confrontation
–Rosen told Wallace to “move it” but couldn’t hear because her back was faced towards Rosen
–Rosen Touched Wallace on the back, and Wallace fell down the stairs
–Wallace says she pushed her but Rose denies–but admits to touching her on the back
–court favors Defendant, plaintiff appeals because of failure to instruct jury instruction on civil battery.

Issue
Did the court erred on not giving jury instruction on civil battery?

Rule
Jury instruction on Battery: (1) A battery is the knowing or intentional touching of one person by another in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.
(2) Any touching, however slight, may constitute on assault and battery
(3) Also a battery may be recklessly committed where one acts in reckless disregard of the consequences, and the fact the person does not intend that the act shall result in an injury is immaterial

Explanation
–Tort Liability is an intent to bring about a result
–For battery to be an appropriate instruction, the evidence had to support an inference not only that Rosen intentionally touched Wallace, but that she did so in a rude, insolent or angry manner, that she intended to invade Wallace’s interests in a way that the law forbids
–Prof Prosser and Keeton: “In a crowded world, a certain amount of personal contact is inevitable and must be accepted”
–Time and place and the circumstance under which the act is done, will necessary affect its unpermitted character
–Touching Wallace on the back was not rude because of the fire drill

Notes
–No error in court trial judgment
–significant facts: fire drill, teacher’s obligation to the safety of the children

Prince’s Takeaway
Touching on a crowded bus is not a battery because it is expected to happen. Doing disco moves on a crowded bus is a battery because it is unexpected on a crowded bus. Circumstances matter in a tort liability case.

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