Tag: battery

No Smoking sign

Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc., 634 N.E.2d 697 (1994) 

FACTS: WLW Bill Cunningham invited antismoking advocate, Ahron Leichtman (Plaintiff), on its radio show to discuss the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke. Plaintiff claims that Furman (Defendant), a talk-show host, repeatedly blew cigar smoke in his face. He further claims Defendant intended to humiliate him and, cause him distress and discomfort.

ISSUE: Whether the intentional act of blowing tobacco smoke in a person’s face is battery.

RULE: Pursuant to Restatement of the Law 2d, Torts (1965), a person commits battery if they intend to make contact with another person in an offensive or harmful manner. The result of the offensive or harmful contact can be either direct or indirect.

ANALYSIS: On Plaintiff’s battery claim, the Court espoused the Supreme Court’s rule that any contact that offends an individual’s sense of dignity is an offensive contact. Because Defendant deliberately blew smoke in Leichtman’s face, the Court did not address the “substantial certainty” point of intent. In all, the Court decided defendants were not entitled to judgment under Civ. R. 12(B)(6).

CONCLUSION: When Defendant blew cigar smoke, with the intention that it would make contact with Plaintiff’s face, he committed a battery. Reversed and remanded on the battery claim.


Garratt v. Dailey, 46 Wn.2d 198; 279 P.2d 1092 (1955)

FACTS: Ruth Garratt alleges Brian Dailey deliberately pulled a lawn chair out from under her. Garratt maintains, as a result of Dailey’s actions, she fell to the ground and sustained a fracture of her hip. Dailey argues he attempted to aid Garratt in sitting down in the chair. However, due to his small size and lack of dexterity, he was unable to get the chair under Garratt in time to prevent her from falling to the ground.

ISSUE: Whether Dailey (Defendant) is liable for battery, if he knew with substantial certainty, that Garratt (Plaintiff) would attempt to sit down in the chair which he moved from under her.

RULE: 1 Restatement, Torts, 29, § 13, as:
‘An act which, directly or indirectly, is the legal cause of a harmful contact with another’s person makes the actor liable to the other, if

a)  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

b)  the contact is not consented to by the other or the other’s consent thereto is procured by fraud or duress, and

c)  the contact is not otherwise privileged.’

ANALYSIS: The trial court argued the Defendant did not have the intent to injure the Plaintiff. However, the appeals court found the mere absence of any intent on part of the Defendant to injure, commit an assault or battery, play a prank, or to embarrass the Plaintiff would not absolve him from liability. Furthermore, the trial court did not resolve the issue as to whether the Defendant had such knowledge. If the Defendant had knowledge, the necessary intent will be established and the Plaintiff will be entitled to recover damages.

CONCLUSION: The Court remanded the case for clarification, with instructions to make definite findings on the issue of whether Defendant knew with substantial certainty that the Plaintiff would attempt to sit down in the chair which he moved from under her.

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