Cohen v Smith

Case Name: Cohen v Smith
Plaintiff/Appellant: Cohen
Defendant/Appellee: Smith

Issue:  Whether the defendant committed a battery when he observed and touched the plaintiff’s naked body.

Key Facts: Patricia Cohen was admitted to the hospital to deliver her baby. Cohen was informed that it would be necessary for her to have a cesarean section. Cohen informed her physician, who informed the hospital staff, that due to her religious beliefs, Cohen could not be seen unclothed by a male. Cohen’s doctor assured her husband that their religious convictions would be respected. During the c-section, Smith, a male nurse, allegedly observed and touched Cohen’s naked body.

Procedural History: The trial court granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss.

Holding: The appellate court found that the trial court erred in dismissing both the battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress counts.

Reasoning: In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action, the court must view all well-pleaded facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Taking this into account, the defendant may have committed a battery by committing an offensive contact with the plaintiff. The result of the defendant’s intentional contact resulted in offending a reasonable sense of personal dignity by violating the plaintiff’s religious beliefs.