Keel v. Hainline

1958 OK 201, 331 P.2d 397

 

RULE:

Where, however, the basis of an action is assault and battery, the intention with which the injury was done is immaterial so far as the maintenance of the action is concerned, provided the act causing the injury was wrongful, for if the act was wrongful, the intent must necessarily have been wrongful. The fact that an act was done with a good intention, or without any unlawful intention, cannot change that which, by reason of its unlawfulness, is essentially an assault and battery into a lawful act, thereby releasing the aggressor from liability.

FACTS:

Defendants were playing, specifically throwing an eraser at each other. Plaintiff was injured when the eraser hit her and she lost an eye. The plaintiff filed an action for damages against the students engaging in the horseplay. The trial court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff. One defendant sought review, contending that the class had not been called to order by the teacher and that defendants were merely playing until the teacher arrived, and therefore could not be said to have been engaged in any wrongful or unlawful acts. 

ISSUE:

Can the defendants be held liable even though they did not intend to engaged in any wrongful or unlawful acts?

ANSWER:

Yes

CONCLUSION:

The court held that where the basis of an action was assault and battery, the intention with which the injury was done was immaterial so far as the maintenance of the action was concerned, provided the act causing the injury was wrongful, for if the act was wrongful, the intent must necessarily have been wrongful. The court noted that the fact that an act was done with a good intention, or without any unlawful intention, could not change that which, by reason of its unlawfulness, was essentially an assault and battery into a lawful act, thereby releasing the aggressor from liability.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.