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Davies v. Butler

Nevada Supreme Court
602 P.2d 605 (1979)


Facts

John Davies died during an initiation ceremony into the Sundowners, a social drinking club. After three days of activities focused on drinking abilities, club members lined initiates up against a wall and made them drink large quantities of high-proof alcohol. Witnesses testified that Davies yelled “Stop” when club members punched him in the head and stomach, then fell to the ground and appeared unable to stand. Club members screamed and kicked at him, held him upright against a wall, and forced a bottle into his mouth. The initiates were then put in a pickup truck and driven some 40 to 50 miles away, where members discovered Davies had stopped breathing. Davies’s parents (plaintiffs) sued the club and nine of its members (defendants) for wrongful death. The trial judge instructed the jury that “[a] person may expressly or by voluntarily participating in an activity consent to an act which would otherwise be a battery.” After the jury voted 6-3 for the defendants, the Davieses appealed, arguing that the jury instruction given was prejudicial error.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mowbray, C.J.)

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