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Shugar v. Guill

Supreme Court of North Carolina
283 S.E.2d 507 (1981)


Gilbert Shugar (plaintiff) entered a restaurant owned by H.L. Guill (defendant), poured himself a cup of coffee without paying for it and joined a group of men sitting around a table. As he sat down at the table, Shugar told Guill that his cup of coffee was “on the house.” Then Shugar told Guill that he would simply “charge it against the formica” Guill owed Shugar, referring to an ongoing dispute regarding whether the restaurant owner owed Shugar $6.25 for a piece of construction material. In response, Guill commented on how “cheap” Shugar was and demanded that he leave his restaurant. Shugar replied, “make me.” Guill picked up Shugar in a bear hug and started toward the door. Shugar managed to break free and the two men exchanged blows. A bystander attempted to intervene and Shugar, believing the argument to be over, dropped his hands to his side at which point Guill struck Shugar squarely in the face and breaking his nose. Shugar began to bleed profusely. Thereafter, Shugar sought medical treatment. Shugar filed suit against Guill for assault and battery. After a trial, the jury awarded Shugar $2,000 in compensatory damages and $2,500 in punitive damages.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Branch, C.J.)

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