The Law School Authority

Spivey v. Battaglia Case Brief

Summary of Spivey v. Battaglia


Employees of Battaglia Fruit Co. were seated on a work table on a lunch break.  The defendant, in an effort to tease the plaintiff, intentionally put his arm around her and pulled her head toward him. Immediately after this “friendly unsolicited hug” the plaintiff suffered a sharp pain in the back of her neck and ear, and sharp pains into the base of her skull  As a result the plaintiff was paralyzed on the left side of her face and mouth.


Whether the defendant’s action could be maintained on a negligence count or if the conduct amounted to an assault and battery? If it did amount to an assault and battery would it hold under the 2-year statute?


Trial Court- Ruled in favor of the defendant… Assault and battery and null under the statute

District court- remanded with directions to reverse the final judgment.

Rule of Law-

An assault and battery is not negligence, for such act is intentional, while negligence connotes and unintentional act.  It would have been an assault if the defendant had reasonably believed that something dangerous might have occurred from the hug.

It cannot be said that a reasonable man in the defendants position would believe that the bizarre results were “substantially certain” to follow.

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