Garret (Old Lady) v. Dailey (Little Chair Pulling Boy) – Case Brief


Garret (Old Lady) v. Dailey (Little Chair Pulling Boy)

Supreme Court of Washington, 1955

46 Wash.2d 197, 279 P.2d 1091.

Boy is with Naomi, Old ladies sister, at old ladies home visiting in the back yard.

Brian grabs chair and moves it to sit in for himself.

She goes to sit, falls, and fractures her hip.

She alleges intentional injury

– Tort of battery: Intentional infliction of harmful bodily contact upon another. Unauthorized or offensive contact with a person

Trial before a Judge, found that Boy did not intend to move the chair with the purpose of hurting Old Lady Garret

– Based on boys version of the facts (which conflicted with Naomi’s version of the event)

– the definnition of battery doesnt state a requirement to injure, SIMPLY “harmful bodily contact”

– Intentional is a term of art

• two pronged def of intent, 1 Purpose of causing contact. 2 knowledge with substantial certainty that contact will occur

What if he says he thought she would fly?

– Bring in an expert testimony child psychologist to say that most 6 yr olds would know that she would fall

Restatement Third: Liability for Physical harm

See pg 884

Between Intentional Battery and Negligence there is Recklessness

If boy has purpose of shooting woman in the woods then it is battery

If he had intended to scare Naomi with bullet, but instead hit Ruth (by mistake), then he would transfer intent and be liable for battery

Mrs Garret sued the child because parents are not liable

– But Homeowners insurance does cover Tort liability WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS FOR INTENTIONAL TORTS

Boy could have committed Battery (an intentional Tort) without intent to injure

– Intentional infliction of harm or offensive bodily contact

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