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Hagopian v. Fuchs
New Jersey Superior Court
169 A.2d 172 (1961)
Edmund Hagopian (plaintiff) and Frederick Fuchs (defendant) were dairy farmers. Hagopian was a member of a dairy-farmers guild. Fuchs was not. While attempting to deliver milk during a strike, Fuchs was attacked by a group of guild members. After the strike, Hagopian followed Fuchs’s milk truck to a gas station. Hagopian was unarmed and allegedly just wanted to talk to Fuchs about joining the guild. Fuchs threw a steel wedge at Hagopian’s head. Hagopian sued Fuchs for assault and battery. At trial, Fuchs claimed he threw the wedge in self-defense. On cross-examination, Fuchs acknowledged that Hagopian was four to six feet away, Hagopian’s back was to him, and Fuchs aimed for Hagopian’s head. The trial court declined to instruct the jury that Fuchs had the burden of proving by a preponderance of credible evidence that Hagopian’s conduct would cause a reasonably prudent person in Fuchs’s position to fear for his safety. The jury found in Fuchs’s favor. Hagopian appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Foley, J.)
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