McQuiggan v. Boy Scouts of Am.

73 Md. App. 705, 536 A.2d 137 (1988)



A battery consists of the unpermitted application of trauma by one person upon the body of another person. The gist of the action is not hostile intent but the absence of consent to the contact on plaintiff's part. When a plaintiff manifests a willingness that the defendant engage in conduct and the defendant acts in response to such a manifestation, his consent negatives the wrongful element of the defendant's act, and prevents the existence of a tort.


Appellant injured person sustained an eye injury when he voluntarily participated in a paper clip shooting game at a boy scout meeting. The injured person brought an action in tort against appellee, the boy scout associations, the scoutmasters, and fellow boy scouts. The injured person alleged that the scoutmasters were liable for negligent supervision and that the fellow boy scouts were liable for assault and battery. The injured person also claimed that the boy scout associations were liable under a doctrine of respondeat superior. After trial, the trial court granted a motion for judgment in favor of all the boy scout associations, the scoutmasters, and the fellow boy scouts. 


Did the trial court err in its decision to bar plaintiff from recovery where he voluntarily participated, knew or should have known of the obvious dangers, and did not withdraw his consent to participate in the paper-clip shooting game?




The court affirmed the judgment and concluded that the injured person appreciated the obvious dangers attendant to playing a paper clip shooting game and that he assumed the risk and consequences of his involvement. The court also found that the injured person directly contributed to the injury. Finally, the court concluded that the injured person's willful participation, without any notice of his withdrawal from participation, barred recovery for assault and battery.

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