An intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent.


Elements

So v. Shin, 212 Cal. App. 4th 652, 659 (2013).

“The essential elements of a cause of action for battery are: (1) defendant touched plaintiff, or caused plaintiff to be touched, with the intent to harm or offend plaintiff; (2) plaintiff did not consent to the touching; (3) plaintiff was harmed or offended by defendant’s conduct; and (4) a reasonable person in plaintiff’s position would have been offended by the touching.”


Battery vs. Assault

The offer to use force to the injury of another person is assault while the use of it is battery.  The latter always includes the former; hence the two terms are commonly combined as “assault and battery.”


Battery is Intentional Tort

Bartosh v. Banning, 251 Cal. App. 2d 378, 385 (1967).

“The crimes of assault and battery are intentional torts.  In the perpetration of such crimes negligence is not involved.  As between the guilty aggressor and the person attacked the former may not shield himself behind the charge that his victim may have been guilty of contributory negligence, for such a plea is unavailable to him.”


Amount of Contact

People v. Mansfield, 200 Cal. App. 3d 82, 88 (1988).

“It has long been established, both in tort and criminal law, that ‘the least touching’ may constitute battery.  In other words, force against the person is enough; it need not be violent or severe, it need not cause bodily harm or even pain, and it need not leave any mark.”


Direct Bodily Contact Not Required

Mount Vernon Fire Ins. Co. v. Busby, 219 Cal. App. 4th 876, 881 (2013).

“The tort of battery generally is not limited to direct body-to-body contact.  In fact, the commentary to the Restatement Second of Torts clearly states that the ‘[m]eaning of “contact with another’s person”‘ . . . does not require that one ‘should bring any part of his own body in contact with another’s person . . . [One] is liable [for battery] in this Section if [one] throws a substance, such as water, upon the other . . . ‘”


Consent is a Defense to Battery

Ashcraft v. King, 228 Cal. App. 3d 604, 609-10 (1991).

“As a general rule, one who consents to a touching cannot recover in an action for battery . . . However, it is well-recognized a person may place conditions on the consent.  If the actor exceeds the terms or conditions of the consent, the consent does not protect the actor from liability for the excessive act.”


Intent Requirement for Battery

Ashcraft v. King, 228 Cal. App. 3d 604, 613 (1991).

“In an action for civil battery the element of intent is satisfied if the evidence shows defendant acted with a ‘willful disregard’ of the plaintiff’s rights.”


What is Considered “Offensive”

Barouh v. Haberman, 26 Cal. App. 4th 40, 46 (1994).

“The usages of decent society determine what is offensive.”

People v. Puckett, 44 Cal. App. 3d 607, 614-15 (1975).

“Even though pushing a door cannot be deemed a harmful injury, the pushing of a door which was touching the prosecutrix could be deemed an offensive touching and a battery is defined as a harmful or offensive touching.”


Transferred Intent Doctrine

Singer v. Marx, 144 Cal. App. 2d 637, 642 (1956).

“If defendant unlawfully aims at one person and hits another he is guilty of assault and battery on the party he hit, the injury being the direct, natural and probable consequence of the wrongful act.”

 

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