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McGuire v. Almy

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
8 N.E.2d 760 (Mass. 1937)



In August 1930, McGuire (plaintiff) was employed to take care of Almy (defendant). McGuire was a registered nurse. Almy was legally insane, although she was in good physical condition. For most of the time McGuire cared for Almy, she kept Almy locked in her room. Almy was occasionally violent during this time. During one particularly violent spell, Almy tore apart the furniture in her room. McGuire entered Almy’s room and tried to subdue her so she would not do harm to herself. Almy struck McGuire on the head with a piece of furniture. McGuire suffered injuries and brought suit against Almy for assault and battery. Almy moved for a directed verdict at trial on the ground that she was insane and could not be liable for her torts. The trial court judge denied Almy's request for a directed verdict, and McGuire obtained a $1,500 jury verdict for her injuries. Almy appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Qua, J.)

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