FISHER V. CARROUSEL MOTOR HOTEL, INC.

Supreme Court of Texas, 1967.

424 S.W.2d 627.

 

Facts

Plaintiff was in line at a hotel buffet with a tray, a man who worked at the hotel (Defendant is Hotel), snatched/knocked the tray from his grip telling him that he could not be served in the hotel.

Procedural History

The jury in the trial court awarded verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $900 for the act of trespass on the plaintiff’s dignity and the plaintiff’s humiliation. Judge refused that verdict and gave the defendants the win. The appeals court affirmed the lower court judge’s decision. $400 for Actual damages. $500 for exemplary.

Issue

Can there be an act of assault and battery if the plaintiff’s actual body is not touched?

Arguments for Both Parties

Defendants say that the employee never touched his body. Plaintiff states that since the defendants’ action caused to him, indignity and humiliation, the action is a battery.

Holding

The court holds that the intentional grabbing of the plaintiff’s plate constituted a battery. The court holds that the trial jury’s verdict of a $900 award is warranted.

Reasoning behind Holding

The damages for the tort of battery are based upon the extent of humiliation and indignity caused to the plaintiff. This must be a bodily action, but the essence of the tort of battery is the personal indignity that follows an action and that this can occur in the mind. Furthermore, that touching or causing an “unpermitted and intentional invasion of the inviolability of his person” is grounds for the tort of battery, and that grabbing something gripped by the defendant is an excellent example of this.

Rule

An action that is an intentional invasion of the inviolability of another is the tort of battery.

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