Snyder v. Turk – 627 N.E. 2d 1053 (Ohio Ct. App. 1993)

Case Name: Snyder v Turk
Plaintiff/Appellant: Snyder
Defendant/Appellee: Dr. Turk
Citation: 627 N.E. 2d 1053 (Ohio Ct. App. 1993)

Did Dr. Turk intend to commit an offensive contact, and in turn commit battery, when he grabbed the plaintiff’s shoulder, pulled her face toward the surgical opening, and exchanged demeaning words?

Key Facts: Dr. Turk was performing a gall bladder surgery which did not go well.  The defendant was frustrated with the operation itself and the plaintiff, who was a scrub nurse in the operating room. The defendant became exasperated because the plaintiff was making mistakes. The defendant grabbed her shoulder and pulled her face down toward the surgical opening, saying, “Can’t you see where I’m working? I’m working in a hole. I need long instruments.”

Procedural History: The trial court ruled that no battery was committed because there was an absence of evidence that he intended to inflict personal injury. Plaintiff appealed.

Holding: Dr. Turk committed an offensive contact and, in turn, battery.

Reasoning: Using a reasonable-minds test, we can conclude that Dr. Turk intended to commit an offensive contact. Ask: “Did Dr. Turk’s action constitute an offensive contact to a reasonable person?”

Judgment: The first assignment of error was sustained.