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3.13-2  Battery

Revised to January 1, 2008

The plaintiff alleges that the conduct of the defendant constituted a battery.

A battery is a harmful or offensive contact with the person of another.

A harmful contact is one that causes physical impairment of the condition of another's body, physical pain, or illness.  An offensive contact is one that offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity.

The contact must be the direct and immediate consequence of a force exerted by the defendant intentionally, wantonly, or without the exercise of due care.

Authority

Sansone v. Bechtel, 180 Conn. 96, 99 (1980); 2 Restatement (Second), Torts §§ 13, 15, 19 (1965).

Notes

Connecticut does not follow the common-law rule that battery requires intent.  Sansone v. Bechtel, supra, 180 Conn. 199, the most recent decision on the subject, states that "[w]e have long adhered to the rule that an unintentional trespass to the person, or assault and battery, if it be the direct and immediate consequence of a force exerted by the defendant wantonly, or imposed without the exercise by him of due care, would make him liable for resulting injury."  (Internal quotation marks omitted.)  This doctrine may eventually need to be reexamined in light of the Supreme Court's subsequent pronouncement that "[i]t is axiomatic, in the tort lexicon, that intentional conduct and negligent conduct, although differing only by a matter of degree . . . are separate and mutually exclusive."  American National Fire Ins. Co. v. Schuss, 221 Conn. 768, 775 (1992).  At present, however, Sansone remains controlling.

The court should additionally charge the jury on the meaning of "intentionally," "wantonly," or "due care," depending on the specific allegations in the case.
 


 

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