Where a defendant knows that the consequences of his act are certain or substantially certain to result from his intentional conduct, and he still proceeds, it is considered that he in fact intended to produce the consequences which in fact occurred.
In recovering four horses that had gone onto a neighbor's land, one of the owners and a helper led two of the animals, bridled, and two that had earlier refused to be bridled onto the shoulder of a highway. The horses were apparently startled by the headlights of the motorist's oncoming car and the two unbridled animals bolted into the road. The motorist's car struck and killed one of the animals. In an action for damages brought by plaintiff motorist as a result of a collision between car and horse, defendant horse owners counterclaimed. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of the motorist and denied recovery to the horse owners on the counterclaim. Thus, the horse owners appealed to the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama.
Was the motorist entitled to damages because of the collision?
The court held that there was ample evidence to support the jury's conclusion that the livestock was in fact knowingly placed on the public highway for purposes of Ala. Code § 3-5-3 (1975). The court found no merit in the contention that the animals were being led alongside the paved portion of the highway, and thus, were not technically "upon the highway." The defense of contributory negligence was not available to the horse owners because contributory negligence, as a matter of law, was not a defense to an intentional tort such as the wrong set forth in § 3-5-3.