Garratt v. Dailey

46 Wash. 2d 197, 279 P.2d 1091 (1955)

 

RULE:

When a minor has committed a tort with force, he is liable to be proceeded against as any other person would be. 

FACTS:

Defendant, a child under the age of six, was visiting plaintiff's adult sister at plaintiff's home. Plaintiff alleged that she came out into the backyard to talk with her sister and that, as she started to sit down in a wood and canvas lawn chair, defendant deliberately pulled it out from under her. The trial court found that defendant was attempting to move the chair toward plaintiff to aid her in sitting down in the chair and that, due to defendant's small size and lack of dexterity, he was unable to get the lawn chair under plaintiff in time to prevent her from falling to the ground. Plaintiff fell to the ground and sustained injuries and damages. The trial court entered judgment for defendant. 

ISSUE:

Is age relevant in determining whether or not an intentional tort is committed? 

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The Court held the law of battery is the law applicable to adults, and no significance has been attached to the fact that Defendant was a child less than six years of age when the alleged battery occurred. The only circumstance where Defendant's age is of any consequence is in determining what he knew, and his experience, capacity, and understanding.

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