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Fred is drunk and kisses wilma, she slaps him. Can either or both sue in tort?

Spokane, WA |

In WA state. Wilma and Fred do not know eachother. He kisses her on the lips, she is shocke and surprised.

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Filed under: Personal injury
Attorney answers 4


The tort would be assault. Can she sue? Yes, and probably win. Can he sue? Yes and probably lose.


Anyone can sue anyone. Whether the suit has merit is an entirely different question. Whether they can be successful is yet a different question.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


Sounds like somebody is looking for an answer to a hypothetical question in class. That said, there are two possible "torts" here: assault (apprehension of harmful or offensive touching) and battery (the actual harmful or offensive touching). If Wilma did not see the kiss coming or otherwise anticipate the "kiss", there would likely not be an "assault", but if Fred's lips actually touched Wilma, there is likely a battery. Similarly, if Wilma slaps Fred, there is a potential "battery" and if Fred saw it coming, that would be an assault. The next question is whether the slap may be excused (or otherwise be a complete defense) in response to the offensive kiss. Chances are, a jury would find Wilma justified in her reaction. Is there anything "actionable" in either case? Well, for any assault or battery to be actionable in terms of a recovery, there must be damages. It's hard to see any significant damages in either case.

If this is a test question, good luck on the test.

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This sounds like you are taking a law class in high school. You can sue a ham sandwich, but will you win is the question.

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