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Thomas v. Bedford

389 So.2d 405 (1980)

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Thomas v. Bedford

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

389 So.2d 405 (1980)

Facts

Joseph Goff was a 14-year-old student at Northwood High School in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. He had a reputation for behaving mischievously but was not considered a disciplinary problem. Carter Bedford (defendant) was a teacher at the school. Bedford was talking with two other teachers when Goff lightly hit Bedford in the back. Bedford told Goff to go to class. In response, Goff shot Bedford in the face with a rubber band from short range, then ran off. Bedford threw a board at Goff as he ran away, but he missed. Bedford then returned to his classroom. About 15 minutes later, Bedford pulled Goff out of class into an adjacent, vacant room. Bedford hit Goff three to four times, causing bruising on Goff’s chest, arms, and back. Goff’s mother, Anna Thomas (plaintiff), sued Bedford, Caddo Parish school district, and the school district’s insurer, for battery. The trial court found that Bedford’s punishment greatly exceeded reasonable force. However, the trial court dismissed the suit. Because corporal punishment was legal in Louisiana, the court reasoned that, as a teacher, Bedford was immune from liability for physical corporal punishment. Thomas appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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