Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.

424 S.W.2d 627 (Tex. 1967)

 

RULE:

Mental suffering is compensable in suits for willful torts which are recognized as torts and actionable independently and separately from mental suffering or other injury. Damages for mental suffering are recoverable without the necessity of  showing actual physical injury in a case of willful battery because the basis of that action is the unpermitted and intentional invasion of the plaintiff's person and not the actual harm done to the plaintiff's body. 

FACTS:

Plaintiff, a mathematician with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), filed a complaint against defendants, alleging that the intentional grabbing of plaintiff's plate at a buffet luncheon constituted an assault and battery. The lower court rendered judgment for defendants notwithstanding the jury verdict for plaintiff. On appeal, the order entering judgment for defendant was reversed because defendants' forceful dispossession of plaintiff's plate in an offensive manner was sufficient to constitute a battery.

ISSUE:

Was there sufficient evidence that an actionable battery was committed, and, if so, is plaintiff entitled to actual damages?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

Reversing on appeal, the court held that the forceful dispossession of plaintiff's plate in an offensive manner was sufficient to constitute a battery. Plaintiff was entitled to actual damages for mental suffering due to the willful battery, even in the absence of any physical injury. Damages for mental suffering are recoverable without the necessity for showing actual physical injury in a case of willful battery because the basis of that action is the unpermitted and intentional invasion of the plaintiff's person and not the actual harm done to the plaintiff's body.

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