Torts I, Pages 17–20

Garratt v. Dailey

Supreme Court of Washington, 1955

Facts:

Defendant, a five-year-old boy, moved plaintiff's chair to sit in himself. When plaintiff sat back down, she fell and broke her hip. There was conflicting testimony as to whether defendant tried to move the chair back in time or not.

Procedural History:

The trail court found that defendant had no intent and thus could not be liable for the intentional tort of battery.

Issue:

Did Dailey have intent?

Rules:

  • Defendant must know with substantial certainty that harmful contact will occur.

  • Bell: Intent exists when the defendant acts with knowledge that there is a substantial certainty that the outcome (here, a harmful contact) would occur.

Reasoning:

Defendant should have known that she would have hurt herself if she tried to sit in the chair.

Holding:

If Dailey knew plaintiff would have tried to sit in the chair after he moved it, he is liable. Remanded.

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