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Wayne State University Law School
Calkins, Stephen

·         intentional infliction of a harmful or offensive bodily contact
·         not necessary that D intends to harm P, just has to intend to make contact
·         also intent commit assault – if attempt to assault & accidentally make harmful of offensive contact à liable for battery
Substantially certain
·         If D knows a harmful or offensive contact is substantially certain to occur the fat that D doesn’t desire the contact is irrelevant
Harmful or offensive contact
·         Includes infliction of harmful contacts
·         Also contacts which are offensive – damaging to a reasonable sense of dignity
Reasonableness Standard
·         Not whether particular P was offended, whether an “ordinary person not unduly sensitive as to his dignity” would have been offended
Where D is aware of P’s sensitivity
·         Not really clear, could argue either way
Extends to personal effects
·         Battery can be committed by contact w/ P’s clothing, an object she is holding, anything else closely identified with her body enough that contact with it is offensive
·         Ex. Fisher v Carrousel Motor Hotel – D snatched plate from P’s hand, shouted he couldn’t be served à battery
Indirect contact
·         Not necessary that D touch P directly, can cause the contact indirectly (ordering dog to attack)
P’s awareness of contact
·         Not necessary that P have actual awareness of the contact at the time it occurs
Unforeseen consequences
·         Once established that D intended to commit a harmful or offensive touching and it occurs, D is liable for any consequences which result, even though he didn’t intend them and couldn’t have reasonably foreseen them
Contact of a different sort
·         If D tries to ram his car into P’s but P swerves and hits a fire hydrant, since P has come into contact with the fire hydrant, it doesn’t matter that this contact is different from the “ramming” contact intended by D
Medical malpractice
·         Battery if Dr. failed to get patients informed consent before performing a certain procedure
·         Intentional causing of an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact
·         To have the requisite intent, D must either have intended the apprehension of contract, or have intended to cause the contact itself
o       If D merely intends to frighten P and doesn’t intent actual contact, has the necessary intent for assault
o       If D intends to commit a battery, and doesn’t intend to put P in apprehension of a contact, has the necessary intent for assault
Transferred intent
·         Doctrine of transferred intent applies – if D throws a stone at X, and P, standing nearby, is put in fear of being hit, D liable to P for assault even though never intended to hit or frighten her
Words alone rule
·         In many jurisdictions, words alone aren’t enough to constitute assault, require some overt act that adds to threatening character
·         Some, as well as R

       Restatement view is that as long as D intends to put P in apprehension of an immediate bodily contact, and succeeds in so doing, there is an assault
Threat to third persons not actionable
·         P must have apprehension that he himself will be subjected to a bodily contact, may not recover for apprehension that someone else will be touched
Conditional threats
·         If D threatens P with immediate bodily harm unless P will pay him money, something of the like, still has committed assault unless D had the legal right to compel P to perform the act in question
·         If D is privileged to enforce the condition, there is no assault unless he uses or threatens unreasonable force in presenting the coide between contact and compliance
Assault is not attempted battery
·         If D intends to frighten P by pointing a gun at her but doesn’t intend to shoot her, assault is committed but not attempted battery
Abandoned attempt
·         Assault is complete as soon as P suffers the requisite apprehension, not negated by the fact that D subsequently changes his mind
Trespass to Land
·         Can occur when D enters P’s land, or causes another person or an object to enter P’s land