Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc. Case Brief

Summary of Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc., 634 N.E.2d 697 (Ohio App. 1994)

Facts: Plaintiff was a nationally known antismoking activist and he was invited to WLW Bill Cunningham radio talk show. While the plaintiff was at the studio, Furman, host of another talk show, lit a cigar and repeatedly blew smoke in the direction of the plaintiff that caused the defendant extreme physical discomfort, humiliation and distress.

Procedure: The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint.

Issue: Can the plaintiff have a case for battery under the given circumstance?

Holding: Yes

Rationale: According to the Supreme Court, in order to determine whether a person is liable for battery, the contact must be offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity. Tobacco smoke can constitute physical contact. But the court is not ready to go any further and state that ‘substantial certainty’ intent can also be used where tobacco smoke is involved. Going this far will crow the court dockets and more important cases will be put on hold.

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