Cohen v. Smith

269 Ill. App. 3d 1087, 207 Ill. Dec. 873, 648 N.E.2d 329 (1995)



An actor commits a battery if (a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of an other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and (b) a harmful contact with the person of an other directly or indirectly results.


Plaintiffs, patient and husband (patient), filed suit against defendants, nurse and hospital, in the Circuit Court of Jackson County (Illinois) after the male nurse observed and touched her naked body against her wishes. Plaintiffs argued that argued that the nurse committed battery when he knowingly violated her privacy interests and religious standards and beliefs by touching her without her consent. The case was dismissed. On appeal, the cour reversed and the case was remanded.


Was there cause of action for a charge of battery?




Liability for battery emphasizes the plaintiff's lack of consent to the touching. When the patient made her wishes known to the hospital, it implicitly agreed to provide her with treatment within the restrictions placed by her religious beliefs. The battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress counts were properly alleged. There was nothing in the record that indicated that the patient's beliefs were less than sincere or that they did not have some relation to her belief in God.

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