Williams v. Kearbey

13 Kan. App. 2d 564, 775 P.2d 670 (1989)



An insane person who shoots and kills another is civilly liable in damages to those injured by his tort.


A14 years old, shot several people at a junior high school in the Sedgwick District Court (Kansas). The principal was killed and three other people were wounded. On trial for a battery action resulting from this incident, the jury found the shooter liable but also found him to be insane at the time of the shooting. On appeal with the Court of Appeals of Kansas, the shooter argued that an insane person should not be held civilly liable for his torts and that an insane person was incapable of forming the necessary intent to commit.


Can an insane person be civilly liable for crimes he commits?




The majority rule expressed in controlling precedent provided that an insane person was civilly liable in damages to those injured by his tort. The court decided to adhere to this rule, finding that the rule was well grounded in sound public policy. The court also noted that the prevailing American view provided that a finding of insanity did not preclude a finding that a defendant acted intentionally and concluded that requirements of the prevailing American view for imposing liability for an intentional tort were satisfied in the instant case.

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