As prosser keeton wrote in section 9 proof of the

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Unformatted text preview: , et al., Prosser and Keeton on Torts § 9 (5th ed. 1984 ). Professor Prosser's treatise explains that the tort of battery exists to protect the integrity of the person. As Prosser & Keeton wrote in section 9: Proof of the technical invasion of the integrity of the plaintiff's person by even an entirely harmless, but offensive contact entitles the plaintiff to vindication of the legal right by an award of nominal damages, and the establishment of the tort cause of action entitles the plaintiff also to compensation for the resulting mental disturbance, such as fright, revulsion or humiliation. Id. (footnotes omitted). Once a contact has been established, its character becomes the focus: The element of personal indignity involved always has been given considerable weight. Consequently, the defendant is liable not only for contact which do actual harm, but also for those relatively trivial ones which are merely offensive and insulting. . . . The time and place, and the circumstances under which the act is done, will necessarily affect its unpermitted character, and so will the relations between the parties. A stranger is not to be expected to tolerate liberties which would be allowed by an intimate friend. But unless the defendant has special reason to believe that more or less will be permitted by the individual plaintiff, the 17 test is what would be offensive to an ordinary person not unduly sensitive to personal dignity. Id. (footnotes omitted). Offensiveness is an essential element of the tort. The trial court, relying on Gatto v. Publix Supermarket, Inc., 387 So. 2d 377 (Fla. 3d DCA 1980 ), concluded that, as a matter of law, Holbrook's actions were not offensive. The plaintiff in Gatto testified that a store employee, in attempting to retrieve allegedly stolen items from the plaintiff's hands, "came into contact with either part of [his] palm or [his] wrist or [his] arms." 387 So. 2d at 379. The third district concluded that this was not evidence of an offensive contact. But, the ac...
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