Trespass to Person - Battery

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14) What torts, if any, have been committed in the following situation: a) Just as Alice is sitting down on a chair, Nathan creeps up from behind and whips the chair from under her. Alice falls to the ground and fractures her arm.

TRESPASS TO PERSON
BATTERY
DEFINITION: The intentional and direct application of force to another person without that person’s consent.

ELEMENTS OF BATTERY:
iii) Physical contact
iii) Physical contact
ii) The Defendant’s act was under his control
ii) The Defendant’s act was under his control

ELEMENTS OF BATTERY
ELEMENTS OF BATTERY
iv) Without Plaintiff’s consent
iv) Without Plaintiff’s consent
i) The mental state of the Defendant
i) The mental state of the Defendant

i) THE MENTAL STATE OF THE DEFENDANT
* The Defendant must have applied the force with intention. * No violence is necessary and any physical contact ith the body of the Plaintiff or his clothing is sufficient to constitute “force”.

ii) THE DEFENDANT’S ACT WAS UNDER HIS CONTROL
* The Defendant’s act must be done voluntarily.

* CASE: Gibbons v. Pepper
The Defendant was riding a horse when someone hit the horse from behind, causing the horse to bolt. The horse collided with the Plaintiff. HELD: The Defendant was not liable as the act of the horse bolting was outside its control.

iii) PHYSICAL CONTACT
* There must be some contact/touching with the Plaintiff’s body.

* CASE: Collins v. Wilcock
A police officer held a woman with the intention of temporarily detaining her. HELD: The contact was hostile as the police officer did not have the authority to detain her.

iv) WITHOUT PLAINTIFF’S CONSENT
* One cannot touch another person without his consent or without lawful justification.

* CASE: Tiong Pik Hiong v. Wong Siew Gieu
The Defendant was liable for battery for scratching the Plaintiff’s face and hitting her, due to her (Defendant) jealousy of the Plaintiff’s friendship with her husband. * No battery if consent is given by Plaintiff expressly impliedly.

Eg of implied consent: tapping a person’s shoulder in order to get his attention or touching that occur while queuing for a train.

APPLICATION:

Thus the tort committed in this case is Battery under Trespass to Person. In this case, there is an intentional and direct application of force from Nathan to Alice as Nathan had intentionally creeps from behind and whipped her chair from under her. This shows that the Defendant (Nathan) had applied the force with intention, which fulfilled the first element of Battery, the mental state of the Defendant. Next, Nathan (Defendant)’s act was under his control. Nathan had done a direct application of whipping Alice’s chair from under her, just as she about to sit on her chair. This shows that the second element of Battery is also fulfilled. In addition, the defendant need not actually touch the plaintiff using his or her body; the contact may be caused indirectly. So there had been a contact/touching between Nathan and Alice, where Nathan used the chair as the medium of causing Battery towards Alice. Nathan had whipped Alice’s chair when she was about to sit on her chair, which caused her to fall to the ground and fractured her arm. Thus, the third element of Battery is also fulfilled as there was physical contact occurred in this case. Lastly, in this case, the tort committed was without the Plaintiff (Alice)’s consent. Nathan was liable for Battery for making Alice falls to the ground until she fractured her arm.

CONCLUSION:

Since all the elements of Battery has been fulfilled in this case of Nathan and Alice, which are the mental state of the Defendant, Defendant’s act was under his control, there is physical contact occurred, and without the Plaintiff’s consent, therefore, it can be conclude that there is tort committed in this case which is Battery under Trespass to Person, and Nathan is liable to the tort of Battery....
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