Law School Case Brief
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc. - 414 S.W.2d 774 (Tex. Civ. App. 1967)
Mental anguish and mental suffering without proof of resulting physical injury will not support a recovery of damages.
Plaintiff Emmit E. Fisher filed a lawsuit in Texas state court against defendants Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc. ("Carrousel"), the Brass Ring Club, Inc. ("Club"), and R.W. Flynn, seeking damages for an alleged assault and battery. The complaint alleged that he was invited to dinner by third parties at the Club, which was operated by Carrousel; that Fisher was standing in the serving line holding his dinner plate when he was assaulted by Flynn, who was the manager of the Club. Specifically, Fisher claimed that Flynn walked over to Fisher, seized his dinner plate, and violently tore it out of his hand. At the same time, Flynn shouted in a loud and offensive manner that Fisher, who was African-American, could not be served there. Fisher alleged that as a result of Flynn's conduct, he suffered great mental anguish and humiliation. Carrousel answered by general denial; Flynn was deceased at time of trial; and the trial proceeded against Carrousel and the Club. After trial, a jury rendered a verdict for Fisher. Fisher filed a motion for judgment on the verdict; Carrousel filed a motion for judgment that Fisher take nothing, asserting that as a matter of law the acts complained of, committed by Flynn, did not constitute an assault or other actionable cause. The trial court overruled Fisher's motion for judgment and granted Carrousel's motion that Fisher take nothing. Fisher appealed.
Could Fisher recover damages for the embarrassment and humiliation that he suffered?
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding that in the absence of an assault or resulting physical injury, Fisher could not recover damages for the embarrassment and humiliation that he suffered as a result of the conduct of Flynn.
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