Case brief assignment

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Your case brief may contain procedural law issues or tangential questions (do not brief those points).  To prepare a proper brief you must first ascertain the substantive law discussed in the case, i.e. contract, tort, etc. and then develop your brief around those issues.  The operative word is “brief” – so don’t be verbose; yet present it in a manner and format which is easy to read and conveys the essence of the facts, reasoning and ruling. 

Your case to brief is Dallas County Civ. Service v. Warren  988 S.W.2d 864 

Here is an example of an erudite and succinct case brief:

Talmage v. Smith, 101 Mich. 370, 45 Am. St. Rep. 414, 59 N.W. 656 (Mich. 1894).

Facts: Talmage (P) and several other children were playing on the roofs of sheds on Smith’s (D) property. Smith ordered the children to get down and threw a stick at one of the boys. The stick missed its intended target and struck Talmage in the eye. Talmage lost all sight in the eye and sued for battery to recover for personal injuries.

Evidence was offered showing that Smith threw the stick intending to frighten (i.e. assault) but not hit a different boy. The trial court entered judgment for Talmage and Smith appealed on the grounds that he did not have the intent to hit Talmage and was therefore not liable for battery.

Issue: If an actor intends to inflict an intentional tort upon one party and accidentally harms a second party, can the actor be held liable to the second party for battery?

Holding and Rule: Yes. If an actor intends to inflict an intentional tort upon one party and accidentally harms a second party, the actor can be held liable to the second party for battery under the doctrine of transferred intent.

If an actor intends an act against a party and that act impacts upon another the actor is liable for the injuries suffered. The fact that the injury resulted to a party other than was intended does not relieve the defendant from responsibility. Smith will not be relieved of liability because he intended to injure someone else.

Disposition: Affirmed.

Effect on Business and Society: The transferred intent torts under common law are: assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land, and trespass to chattels. If an actor has the intent to commit any of the transferred intent torts, the actor will be liable for all other transferred intent torts that result from that act. The actor’s liability extends to all parties harmed, not merely the original intended victim

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