Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.
424 S.W.2d 627 (Tex. 1967)
The plaintiff, Fisher, was a guest invited to a luncheon held at the Carrousel Motor Hotel (the “Carrousel”) with his other associates. While Fisher was about to be served and approached to Flynn, the manager of the Carrousel, Flynn snatched the plate from Fisher’s hand and shouted that “he, a Negro, could not be served in the club.” Fisher was not physically touched nor did he suffer fear or apprehension of physical injury. However, he was highly embarrassed and hurt by Flynn’s conduct in the presence of his associates. Fisher filed a suit to a jury against the Carrousel for the liability of Flynn’s offensive conducts. The jury found for Fisher and rendered him for $900 while the trial court ruled for the defendants notwithstanding the verdict. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed.
1. Whether Flynn’s offensive conduct, while neither actually touched nor cause fear/apprehension of physical injury against Fisher, constituted an actionable battery? 2. If an actionable battery was committed, whether the Carrousel must be responsible for the damages Flynn owed to Fisher?
Rule of Law:
1. To constitute an assault and battery, it is not necessary to touch the plaintiff’s body or even his clothing; knocking or snatching anything from plaintiff’s hand or touching anything connected with his person, when done in an offensive manner, is sufficient. 2. The rule in Texas is that a principal is liable for the actual, exemplary or punitive damages because of the acts his agent or employee when the agent or the employee was employed in a managerial capacity and was acting in the scope of employment.
Since personal indignity is the essence of an action for battery, the basis of willful battery is to punish the unpermitted and intentional invasion of the plaintiff’s person. Therefore, forceful dispossession of Fisher’s plate in an offensive manner was sufficient...
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