Case Name: Garratt v Dailey
Plaintiff/Appellant: Ruth Garratt
Defendant/Appellee: Brian Dailey
Key Facts: Brian Daily, a five year old, was visiting the home of Ruth Garratt. Garratt contends that during the visit, Dailey deliberately pulled out a chair from under her as she started to sit down. Garratt fell to the ground and sustained a fracture of her hip and other injuries. There is a dispute in the facts, as Dailey claims that once he discovered Garratt was about to sit, he attempted to move the chair back under her.
The preponderance of the evidence in this case established that when Garratt moved the chair, he did not have any willful or unlawful purpose and that he did not have any intent to injure the plaintiff, or any intent to bring about unauthorized or offensive contact with her person.
Procedural History: The trial court stated that Garratt failed in her proof of the prima facie elements of battery and accepted Dailey’s version of the story and did not award Garratt damages. In other words, the court determined that the plaintiff had not established her theory of a battery.
Issue: Whether Dailey had the requisite intent to commit a battery when he pulled out the chair from under Garratt.
Holding: A battery would be established if it was proved that when Dailey moved the chair he knew with substantial certainty that the plaintiff would attempt to sit down where the chair had been.
Reasoning: Dailey, whether five or fifty-five, must have committed some wrongful act before he could be liable for appellant’s injuries. However, clarification should be conducted to cover the question of Dailey’s knowledge, because intent could be inferred from his knowledge.
Judgment: The appellate court remanded the case back to the trial court to discover whether Dailey knew with substantial certainty that the plaintiff would attempt to sit down where the chair had been.