by Heidi Elaine
Sample case for Legal Writing
26 November 2007
Mr. Kent was a blind man with a seeing eye dog named Blue. Mr. Kent was having his daily walk in Central Park when Blue became excited. Mr. Kent became worried when Blue stopped and started growling. Two thugs, Crummy and Nasty, spoke harshly to Mr. Kent, and then Crummy grabbed Blue’s leash from Mr. Kent and ran away with Blue. Mr. Kent wandered home, and after tripping and falling once or twice, he was reunited with Blue at his house. Mr. Kent could possibly receive recovery from the two thugs in a few ways.
Mr. Kent could attempt to sue Crummy for battery, because Crummy grabbed the leash out of Mr. Kent’s hand. Battery requires a harmful or offensive touching, that is the result of an intentional act. A touching could be considered as having occurred through association, because the leash was connected to Mr. Kent’s person. The touching could be considered offensive, because Mr. Kent needs his dog to see. The act seemed to be intentional, because Crummy spoke harshly to Mr. Kent, and the facts say taking the dog was a practical joke. Crummy could try to defend himself by saying he had privilege, because the dog was scaring him. If Mr. Kent could prove that grabbing the leash was an offensive touching, and that Crummy did it intentionally, he could probably sue Crummy for battery.
Mr. Kent could also attempt to sue Crummy for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, because Crummy took Mr. Kent’s dog, and Mr. Kent had to stumble home alone and blind. Intentional infliction of emotional distress is when someone by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly (in the face of a high probability) causes severe emotional distress to another person. It could be argued that taking away someone’s Seeing Eye dog is outrageous conduct. Crummy could argue that he did not intentionally cause distress to Mr. Kent, because it was a practical joke after all. If Mr. Kent could prove that someone taking his dog was outrageous conduct, and that the emotional distress to him was caused recklessly, then he can probably sue Crummy for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Mr. Kent could also try to sue Crummy and Nasty for assault, because they spoke harshly to him. Assault requires an act or a gesture that is intentional and causes reasonable apprehension that the person will be imminently touched. Mr. Kent could not see if there was a gesture being made towards him, but he could argue that the reason the dog barked and growled was due to some sort of a gesture. Mr. Kent could also argue that the speaking harshly was an intentional act to frighten Mr. Kent. Crummy and Nasty could defend themselves by saying that they never made any threats or gestures towards Mr. Kent, and that Mr. Kent had no reason for apprehension. If Mr. Kent could prove that Crummy and Nasty’s words were intentionally spoken to cause Mr. Kent to be frightened that they might harm him, he could sue them for assault.
Mr. Kent could also try to sue Crummy for false imprisonment. False imprisonment occurs when one acts intending to confine another within fixed boundaries, and the act results in confinement, and the person is aware that they are being confined. If the person confining the other to the boundaries has consent or privilege, or if there is a convenient alternative, there can be no false imprisonment. Mr. Kent could argue that when Crummy grabbed the leash he was intending to strand Mr. Kent in his tracks with no eyesight. Crummy can argue that Mr. Kent got home, so there was a convenient alternative, and Mr. Kent was not being confined. If Mr. Kent could prove that for the few seconds he did not have his dog before wandering home that he was being confined, he could sue Crummy for false imprisonment.
The strongest cases in this situation seem to be the battery and emotional distress cases. Mr. Kent has a lot of evidence for those cases, and a lot of people would probably feel bad for Mr. Kent given his situation and the circumstances of what Crummy and Nasty did to him. The false imprisonment charge seems to be a far stretch because there aren’t as many straight facts supporting the false imprisonment rules.