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Tatman v. Cordingly

Supreme Court of Wyoming
672 P.2d 1286 (1983)


Facts

E. Ben Tatman (plaintiff) had a disagreement with Gary L. Cordingly (defendant) that resulted in a violent altercation. Tatman used his pickup truck to run over Cordingly’s motorcycle, and Tatman was the first to strike a blow in their violent brawl. Tatman tried to get to his rifle, causing Cordingly to believe that his life was in danger. Tatman had to be hospitalized for eight days as a result of injuries sustained in the fight. Tatman sued Cordingly for assault and battery. The jury was given instructions on Wyoming law regarding the limits of self-defense. Specifically, the jury was instructed that a person threatened with a battery has the right to protect himself against the threatened attack, real or not, so long as he believed it to be real. Also, a person may establish the defense of self-defense if he reasonably believed that he must use force to protect himself and used no more force than reasonable to protect himself. Finally, the privilege of self-defense ends once the attacker is disarmed or the danger has passed. A jury found that Tatman committed a battery, and Cordingly acted in self-defense. Tatman appealed, arguing that the evidence did not support the verdict, and that the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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