INTENTIONAL TORTS | ASSAULT and BATTERY
Let us recall that we are dealing here with CIVIL, as opposed to CRIMINAL, concepts, though it is possible, and even likely, that both civil and criminal penalties may flow from the same actions.
“ASSAULT” occurs when one person intends for another individual to believe he/she will be subjected to imminent “harmful or offensive” contact.
The perceived threatened contact cannot be some future act. The” intentional tort” of “assault” also requires more than mere words—it requires an “overt act”. “Assault” requires apprehension, or even fear, that “harmful or offensive” contact is about to occur. No physical contact, however, occurs !
On the other hand, the “tort” of BATTERY does involve physical contact. It occurs when one person intends to cause “offensive or harmful” contact to another and such contact actually does take place !
If D throws a bat at the opposing little league’s coach because D’s team just struck out in the final out of the game, and D hits an opposing player instead of the coach, a “battery” has nevertheless occurred.
The INTENTIONAL TORTS of assault and battery occur with some frequency in cases involving false arrest by police officers and cases involving private security guards.
The issue will also often arise in cases involving “bouncers” in nightclubs and after hours spots where liquor flows freely. From the point of view of the Personal Injury Attorney these cases do present viable opportunities to recover adequate compensation for injured clients because, in addition to the perpetrator of the “intentional tort” being the subject of the lawsuit, the employer will almost invariably be included as a defendant in the lawsuit as well. It is the employer, after all, that will be the one with the resources to provide the compensation sought.