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CASE LAWS

Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc. case brief


Leichtman
v.
WLW
Jacor
634
N.E.2d
697
(Ohio
Tort

Communications,
Ct.
App.

Inc.
1994)
Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiff guest brought an action against defendants, radio studio,
host, and smoker, for battery, invasion of privacy, and a violation of a statute . The Hamilton
County Court of Common Pleas (Ohio) dismissed the guest's complaint. The guest sought
review.
FACTS:
-A guest entered the radio studio to make a public radio appearance with the host.
-At the host's urging, the smoker repeatedly blew cigar smoke in the guest's face.
-The guest contended that his complaint was sufficient to state a claim upon which relief could
be
granted.
HOLDING
-The court held that when the smoker intentionally blew cigar smoke in the guest's face he
committed
a
battery.
ANALYSIS
-The court held that no matter how trivial the incident, a battery was actionable, even if damages
were
only
one
dollar.
-The court held that the guest's other claims, invasion of his privacy and violation of a local nonsmoking regulation, were not sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.
-The regulation created rights for nonsmokers that did not exist at common law. There was no
impliedprivate remedy for violation of the non-smoking regulation because sanctions were
provided
to
enforce
the
regulation.
RULES
-An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if he acts intending to cause a harmful or
offensive contact with the person of the other, and a harmful contact with the person of the other
directly or indirectly results; or an offensive contact with the person of the other directly or
indirectly
results.
-In determining if a person is liable for a battery, the Ohio Supreme Court has adopted the rule
that contact which is offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity is offensive contact.
-It has defined "offensive" to mean "disagreeable or nauseating or painful because of outrage to
taste
and
sensibilities
or
affronting
insultingness.
-Furthermore, tobacco smoke, as "particulate matter, has the physical properties capable of
making
contact
CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the portion of the judgment dismissing the guest's claims of
invasion of privacy and violation of a local smoking regulation but reversed the dismissal of the
battery claim. The court remanded the cause for further proceedings.

GARRATT V. DALEY

Facts
Five year old Brian Dailey (D) pulled a chair out from under Ruth Garratt just as she was about
to sit causing her to fall and break her hip. Garratt brought suit for personal injuries and alleged
that Dailey had acted deliberately. The trial court entered judgment for Dailey and found that he
had not intended to injure Garratt. The court nevertheless made a finding of $11,000 in damages
in case the judgment was overturned on appeal. Dailey appealed.
Issues
1

In regards to the intentional tort of battery, is the element of intent satisfied if the defendant
knows with a substantial certainty that his act will result in a harmful or offensive contact?
2 Can a five year old child be liable for an intentional tort?
Holding and Rule
1

Yes. In regards to the intentional tort of battery, the element of intent is satisfied if the
defendant knows with a substantial certainty that his act will result in a harmful or offensive
contact.
Yes. A five year old child can be liable for an intentional tort.

A minor is liable just as any other person when he has committed an intentional tort with force.
Elements of the Tort of Battery
Under the Restatement of Torts an actor who commits a direct or indirect act which is the legal
cause of a harmful contact with another is liable if: 1) the act is done with the intention of
bringing about a harmful or offensive contact or an apprehension thereof to the other or a third
person, and 2) the contact is not consented to by the other or the others consent thereto is
procured by fraud or duress, and 3) the contact is not otherwise privileged.
Intent requires that the act must be done for the purpose of causing the contact or apprehension
or with knowledge on the part of the actor that such contact or apprehension is substantially
certain to be produced. A battery would be established if a party acts with substantial certainty
that a result will occur. The mere absence of any intent to injure, play a prank on, or embarrass
the plaintiff, or to commit an assault and battery on her, would not absolve the defendant of
liability if in fact he had such knowledge.
If Garratt has proven to the satisfaction of the trial court that Dailey moved the chair while she
was in the act of sitting down, his action would patently have been for the purpose or with the
intent of causing her bodily contact with the ground, and she would be entitled to a judgment
against him for the resulting damages.

Disposition
Remanded for a clarification of findings regarding Daileys knowledge in order to determine
whether the element of intent is satisfied.

Talmage v. Smith,

Facts: Talmage (P) and several other children were playing on the roofs of sheds on Smiths (D)
property. Smith ordered the children to get down and threw a stick at one of the boys. The stick
missed its intended target and struck Talmage in the eye. Talmage lost all sight in the eye and
sued for battery to recover for personal injuries.
Evidence was offered showing that Smith threw the stick intending to frighten (i.e. assault) but
not hit a different boy. The trial court entered judgment for Talmage and Smith appealed on the
grounds that he did not have the intent to hit Talmage and was therefore not liable for battery.
Issue: If an actor intends to inflict an intentional tort upon one party and accidentally harms a
second party, can the actor be held liable to the second party for battery?
Holding and Rule: Yes. If an actor intends to inflict an intentional tort upon one party and
accidentally harms a second party, the actor can be held liable to the second party for battery
under the doctrine of transferred intent.
If an actor intends an act against a party and that act impacts upon another the actor is liable for
the injuries suffered. The fact that the injury resulted to a party other than was intended does not
relieve the defendant from responsibility. Smith will not be relieved of liability because he
intended to injure someone else.
Disposition: Affirmed.
Transferred Intent: The transferred intent torts under common law are: assault, battery, false
imprisonment, trespass to land, and trespass to chattels. If an actor has the intent to commit any
of the transferred intent torts, the actor will be liable for all other transferred intent torts that
result from that act. The actors liability extends to all parties harmed, not merely the original
intended victim

VOSBURG V. PUTNEY

Facts
Vosburg (P) suffered an injury to his leg just below the knee. A few days later while the injury
was still healing, a classmate named Putney (D) kicked him lightly in the same spot. Vosburg did
not feel the kick immediately. He later felt pain in the leg and underwent surgery when the injury
continued to deteriorate.
Vosburg lost the use of the injured leg and brought tort claims against Putney for common law
battery. The trial court entered judgment for Vosburg and awarded him $2800. On appeal the
court reversed for error and a new trial was ordered. Judgment was entered for Vosburg for
$2500 and Putney appealed.
Issue

Is a defendant in an action for battery liable for damages arising from unforeseen injuries?

Holding and Rule

Yes. A defendant in an action for battery is liable for damages arising from unforeseen
injuries.

The intention to do harm is the essence of the wrongful act. The wrongdoer is liable for all
injuries resulting directly from the wrongful act whether or not they were foreseeable. Vosburg
must show either that the intention was unlawful or that Putney is at fault. If the act is unlawful,
the intention is unlawful. The court ruled that in this case the act was unlawful since it took place
during class rather than on the playground and Putney was liable for all personal injuries
sustained as a consequence of his wrongful act.
Disposition
Reversed and remanded for new trial due to an error in testimony.
Notes
This case exemplifies the common law eggshell skull rule. A defendant takes a plaintiff as he
finds him. It is not relevant whether the defendant knew that the plaintiff had an eggshell skull.
See Sibbach v. Wilson & Co. for a case brief of an opinion of the United States Supreme Court
involving tort claims for personal injuries. This case is occasionally miscited as Vosberg v.
Putney.