Lambertson v. United States

Procedural History

–          Lower court judge dismissed Lambertson’s (Plaintiff’s) actions stating that it was barred (exception to the rule) from being heard by the federal court, specifically under the Federal Tort Claims Act – the federal court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case:

  • Sole basis for judge’s dismissal is that the actions amounted to battery and not negligence on behalf of the government employee.

–          Appellate court affirmed lower courts decision…


–          Plaintiff was an employee at meat packing truck dock, and the Defendant, worked for the United States (meat inspector for the United States).

–          D jumped on the back of P, knocked him over, and a meat hook went into P’s mouth.

–          Plaintiff sued the U.S. from the Federal Torts Claim Act for personal injury and property damage caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the government while acting within the scope of his office or employment:

  • Lists several claims exceptions which battery is one of…

–          Plaintiff

  • States that it was not battery, but it was negligence on behalf of the D.


– Was it a battery claim that is barred by the Federal Torts Claims Act?


– Yes.


– Intent which is an essential element of battery is the intent to make contact, not to do injury.

Courts Reasoning

– A plaintiff in an action to recover damages for an assault founded upon bodily contact must prove only that there was bodily contact; that such contact was offensive; and that the defendant intended to make the contact. The plaintiff is not required to prove that the D actually intended to physically injure him.

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