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Poliak v. Adcock

Tennessee Court of Appeals
2002 WL 31109737 (2002)


Facts

James Adcock (defendant) owned a house in Nashville with his wife. Adcock’s adult daughter, Anna Adcock-Butler, also lived in the home with her two children. Anna’s boyfriend, Matthew Poliak (plaintiff), moved into the home to live with Anna in 1998. Poliak and Adcock had at least one run-in, but Adcock never directly opposed or protested Poliak living there. Poliak was younger and larger than Adcock, but Poliak never attempted to intimidate or harm Adcock. One afternoon, Adcock decided that he could no longer allow Poliak to live in the home. Adcock took a two-by-four piece of wood and went into Anna’s bedroom. Poliak was asleep on the bed, and Adcock woke him up by cursing at him. Poliak mumbled something and started to get out of bed. Adcock then hit him with the piece of wood and told him that Adcock was leaving the house for a little while. Adcock told Poliak that Adcock would kill him if he was still there when Adcock returned. Poliak suffered severe injuries from the strike and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Poliak sued Adcock for assault and battery, asserting $150,000 in compensatory damages and sought $150,000 in punitive damages. Adcock admitted that he hit Poliak with the two-by-four but claimed that he was acting in self-defense. After Adcock’s deposition, Poliak filed a motion for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the affirmative defense. The trial court granted the motion, and Adcock appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Koch, J.)

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