On June 8, 2009, Rutherford & Christie attorneys Carrie Christie and Andrea E. Dobur obtained summary judgment in favor of Bethany Christian Church, Inc., and its youth minister in a civil battery case.
The plaintiff alleged that, following a Wednesday night youth group, the youth minister struck her minor son on the head with a church program and, as a result, he suffered physical, mental and emotional damages. The youth minister denied that his actions had in any way harmed the youth and that he had only tapped the teen on the head to get his attention after repeatedly asking him to stop interrupting a private conversation. The youth admitted in discovery that he had not been physically injured, but that he was embarrassed by the event.
The Court found the plaintiff had failed to establish the defendant acted with intent to cause a harmful, insulting or provoking contact. The Court found no evidence to prove the action was an unlawful touching or offensive as “anger, rudeness or lust” were not present. Finally, the Court found that the plaintiff’s “own words demonstrate that the touch effectuated upon him was not offensive to a person with a normal sensitivity as to his dignity in that ‘I mean, it was that – that big of a deal.'” The Court did not address the issue of liability as to Bethany Christian Church, since the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed said defendant after summary judgment was filed on its behalf and prior to the Court’s ruling.