Torts Question (about intent)

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mbutterfly
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Torts Question (about intent)

Postby mbutterfly » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:13 pm

Our professor said there is a jurisdictional split in regards to battery:

Battery : intent to cause harmful/offensive contact and harmful/offensive contact occurs.

Well some jurisdictions, the majority, hold that intent modifies contact (intent to cause any contact) while the minority holds that intent modifies harmful/offensive (intent to cause harm/offense).

Is this correct or is my understanding off?

dakatz
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby dakatz » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:27 pm

You are certainly right that there is a jurisdictional split, but I believe you have it mixed up as to which one is the majority and which one is the minority. My professor explains the split as "single vs. dual" theory of intent. The traditional conception of battery, and the majority approach is what my prof. calls the "dual" theory. This where the actor both intends the contact itself, and also intends in his mind that the contact be harmful/offensive.

The minority approach or "single" intent theory involves the actor merely intending contact as a prerequisite for the "intent" element of battery. But this approach was essentially conceived as a way to cover 2 particular situations that otherwise would not be battery under the "dual" majority approach:

1. Mentally Handicapped: Many mentally handicapped people, while they intend contact with others whom they strike, may have no conception of the harm or offense they cause. So under the traditional definition of battery, they are not liable because they didn't "intend" to harm. So the "single" theory of solely requiring the intent to contact allows us to hold mentally handicapped liable.

2. Batteries of sexual nature: What about situations where a guy who just doesn't know any better tries to kiss a girl who really wants no part of it? What if he goes up to a stranger and starts massaging her shoulders? Of course he intended the contact itself, but he may claim (and be sincere in claiming) that he meant no harm or offense because he thought the girl would like it. Under the traditional concept of battery intent, such people would also not be liable. So the minority "single" approach allows us to find such people liable as well.


Sorry for the long-winded answer. Yes, there is a jurisdictional split, but I believe you mixed up which is which.

xiening
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby xiening » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:38 pm

The above answer is correct! Just in short, the dual intent is the majority and single intent is the minority.
The dual intent requires the plaintiff to prove the defendant voluntary action + intent to harm. But obviously this is a defendant friendly jurisdiction because defendant may deny the intent to harm.
In contrast, single intent ONLY requires the voluntary action, and hence it is easier for the plaintiff to prove defendant's intent.

Just remember one is plaintiff friendly and one is defendant friend you should be ok.

mbutterfly
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby mbutterfly » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:43 pm

Thanks for clearing it up! I was just outlining and trying to organize my class notes and got a little confused on this. I think the professor might have misspoke cause there is no way I wrote this down incorrectly. Hmm, what if everyone in the class gets it wrong?

dakatz
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby dakatz » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:50 pm

mbutterfly wrote:Thanks for clearing it up! I was just outlining and trying to organize my class notes and got a little confused on this. I think the professor might have misspoke cause there is no way I wrote this down incorrectly. Hmm, what if everyone in the class gets it wrong?


So then why not clarify with the professor? Better to hear it from his/her mouth than just assume you have it understood.

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APHill
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby APHill » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:52 pm

Are you guys talking about Vosburg battery definition vs. 2nd restatement battery definition? I think you are.

uvauvauva
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby uvauvauva » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 pm

APHill wrote:Are you guys talking about Vosburg battery definition vs. 2nd restatement battery definition? I think you are.


Seeing the forest in the trees

Congrats APHILL

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APHill
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby APHill » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:54 pm

betasteve wrote:
APHill wrote:Are you guys talking about Vosburg battery definition vs. 2nd restatement battery definition? I think you are.

What a substantive post!


Sarcasm or seriously?

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APHill
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Re: Torts Question (about intent)

Postby APHill » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:06 pm

betasteve wrote:
APHill wrote:
betasteve wrote:
APHill wrote:Are you guys talking about Vosburg battery definition vs. 2nd restatement battery definition? I think you are.

What a substantive post!


Sarcasm or seriously?

Sarcasm. Can't believe you had to ask.


well, nobody else has mentioned it before, so i thought it might help clear things out a bit.




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