I am struggling with the concept of "intent" in torts. Specifically, if a doctor accidentally amputates the wrong leg on a patient, why is this a battery? Where is the intent to harm or offend? Someone please explain this concept to me! I am also confused on "substantial certainty." Is it that there is a "substantial certainty" that the contact will occur or is it that there is a "substantial certainty" that the contact will be harmful or offensive? Both? I would appreciated any feedback that can clarify this concept for me. Thanks!
Intent -purpose to cause harmful or offensive contact or -substantial certainty that the actions will result in harmful or offensive contactIntent is a double pronged test. The second prong is a more lenient standard, and catches a lot of situations that the first prong would not catch. Offensive contact means that a reasonable person would exclaim "outrage" at the idea of the type of contact. Amputating someones leg without their consent would cause a reasonable person to exclaim "outrage".If a doctor amputated a leg, and could foresee that doing so without consent would cause someone offensive or harmful contact, and it was proved that he did not have consent, then there is the requisite intent to find battery.You can and should combine this with the reasonable man standard. That is, this is all from the viewpoint of the mythic reasonable man: Barry Bonds. That intent can then be transfered, in some cases: like if the doctor intended to amputate one man's leg and then mistakenly amputated another man's leg. This can be seen in negligence actions too, with the foreseeability part of the negligence test for the prudent man. Once intent has been established, it can be transferred from the intended victim to another nearby or connected victim.
It would appear that the plaintiff in that case would not be able to go forward on a negligence theory, simply because what he did was successful and right to do! But...doing something "right" and "sucessfully" wasn't the issue. The issue was that he "touched" her without permission. In negligence, there would have to be damage. In the Mohr case, there is no damage. He was successful. In the "wrong leg" amputee case...we have plenty of damage. The man lost his leg!
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