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Garratt v. Dailey

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Garratt v. Dailey, 46 Wash. 2d 197, 279 P.2d 1091 (Wash. 1955), is a Torts case that examines the element of intent in an intentional tort.

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Summary of case facts

Plaintiff Garratt was about to sit in a chair when defendant Dailey--a five-year old boy--pulled the chair from under her. She fell and sustained a broken hip.

She sued defendant for personal battery for personal injuries sustained.

The trial court entered judgment in favor of defendant Dailey, finding that he hadn't intended to cause injury to plaintiff but found damages. Plaintiff appealed to Washington state Supreme Court.


The main issue in the case related to the intent element of an intentional tort. The court addressed the question of whether the element of intent, for the tort of battery, is satisfied if a defendant knows with "substantial certainty" that his/her act will result in offensive contact.

A secondary issue in the case was whether a five-year old can commit an intentional tort.

Holding and Law

The Washington Supreme Court remanded the case for further determination as to whether Daily had the requisite knowledge when pulling the chair. The lower court found in favor of plaintiff Garratt and the decision was affirmed by the state Supreme Court.

The court held that the element of intent for an battery tort claim, is satisfied when the defendant knows, with substantial certainty, that his/her act will result in offensive contact.

The court also held that a minor can be liable for an intentional tort.

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