I de S et Ux. v. W de S – Case Brief
I de S et Ux. v. W de S, At the Assizes, Y.B. Lib.Ass. folio 99, placitum 60 (1348).
Facts: W (D) beat on the door of I’s (P1) tavern with a hatchet after it had closed in order to get P1 to open the door so that he could buy wine. P1’s wife (P2) stuck her head out of the window and shouted at D to stop. D hit the door with the hatchet but did not injure P2 and the plaintiffs brought suit.
D claimed as his defense that there were no damages because he did not actually harm P2. The court dismissed the action because P2 did not suffer physical harm and the plaintiffs appealed.
Issue: Is a party liable for placing another in fear of harm if no actual physical harm is caused?
Holding and Rule: Yes. D frightened P2 when he swung the hatchet and the plaintiffs were entitled to recover damages even though there was no actual physical harm.
Notes: The tort of assault is an act intended to cause an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact that causes apprehension of such contact in the victim. The transferred intent doctrine applies.