Vosburg v. Putney

50 N.W. 403 (Wis. 1891)

Defendant, a fourteen-year-old boy, kicked Plaintiff, his eleven-year-old classmate, in the shin while they were both sitting in a high school class.  The kick was slight.  However, Plaintiff experienced great pain, a severe infection, and surgery at the kicked place. Plaintiff ultimately suffered a permanent loss of the use of his leg.

Plaintiff’s medial experts testified that his shin was in a diseased condition from a previous injury and that Defendant’s kick somehow activated the disease process such that the kick “was the exciting cause” of the eventual destruction of the bone tissue.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court in effect ruled that Defendant intended a battery (the kick) and therefore could be held liable for all harm that directed resulted from it, even if such harm was neither intended nor foreseen.

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