AMI417Issues—Claim for Damages Based Upon Assault—Burden of Proof
Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 417
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2020 Update
Chapter 4. Intentional Torts and Defamation
AMI 417 Issues—Claim for Damages Based Upon Assault—Burden of Proof
(Plaintiff) claims damages from (defendant) for assault and has the burden of proving each of the following three essential propositions:
First, that (defendant) acted in such a manner as to create a reasonable apprehension of immediate harmful or offensive contact upon the person of (plaintiff);
Second, that (defendant) intended to cause that apprehension; and
Third, that (plaintiff) was actually put in that apprehension.
[If you find from the evidence in this case that each of these propositions has been proved, then your verdict should be for (plaintiff); but if, on the other hand, you find from the evidence that any of these propositions has not been proved, then your verdict should be for (defendant)].
NOTE ON USE
Do not use the bracketed sentence if the case is submitted on interrogatories.
Although the tort of assault frequently arises in connection with a battery, no actual physical contact is necessary to constitute an assault. See Restatement (Second) of Torts § 21, cmt. c (1965).
Words alone, including indecent proposals, without the accompanying threat of physical contact, are insufficient to constitute an assault. Cooper v. Demby, 122 Ark. 266, 183 S.W. 185 (1916); Davis v. Richardson, 76 Ark. 348, 89 S.W. 318 (1905).
Self-defense may constitute a defense to a civil action for assault and battery. Downey v. Duff, 106 Ark. 4, 152 S.W. 1010 (1912).
Since assault is essentially a mental, rather than a physical, invasion, damages are recoverable for the plaintiff's mental suffering, as well as for any physical illness resulting from the assault. The establishment of the technical cause of action, even without proof of harm, entitles the plaintiff to vindication of his or her legal right by an award of nominal damages. Davis, supra. See also Fritz v. Baptist Mem. Health Care Corp., 92 Ark. App. 181, 211 S.W.3d 593 (2005) (citing additional cases and distinguishing assault claims from negligence claims with respect to nominal damages).
© 2020 Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions-Civil
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