Procedural History – 1967
– Jury gave verdict of $400 for humiliation, and $500 for punitive damages to Fisher (Plaintiff) – trial court set aside the verdict, gave judgment for the Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc. (Defendant) notwithstanding the verdict – Court of Appeals affirmed.
– P appealed to Supreme Court because he wanted monies from the battery from the D.
– P won in Supreme Court.
– P was a teacher at a convention, and he was black. While he was in the cafeteria, with a plate of food in his hand, the employee of D came over, snatched the food out his plate and said “Negro could not be served in the club.”
- P was not actually hurt or physically harmed, but was highly embarrassed in the presence of his fellow colleagues.
– Was the grabbing of the plate an offensive touching?
– To constitute an assault and battery, it is not necessary to touch the plaintiffs body or even his clothing; knocking or snatching anything from P’s hand or touching anything connected with his person, when done in offensive manner is sufficient.
– The essence of the P’s grievance consists in the offense to the dignity involved in the unpermitted and intentional invasion of the inviolability of his person and not in any physical harm done to his body…it is not necessary that the P’s actual body be disturbed. Unpermitted and intentional contacts with anything so connected with the body as to be customarily regarded as part of the person’s and therefore as partaking of its inviolability is actionable as an offensive contract with that person.
– Damages are recoverable without showing physical injury because the unpermitted and intentional invasion of the P’s person and not the actual harm done to the P’s body.
Forceful dispossession of the P’s plate in an offensive manner was sufficient to constitute a battery, and the trial court erred in granting judgment notwithstanding the verdict on actual damages.