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Wagner v. State

Supreme Court of Utah
122 P.3d 599 (Utah 2005)


Wagner (plaintiff) was standing in line at K-Mart when she was pulled to the ground from behind by Giese, resulting in injury to Wagner. Giese was mentally disabled and was under the supervision and control of the State of Utah (state) (defendant) at the time of the incident. Wagner brought suit against the state. Wagner did not claim that Giese’s action was the result of an involuntary spasm. The state argued that the attack constituted the intentional tort of battery. The state was statutorily immune from being sued for battery. Wagner argued that the attack was not battery, because Giese could not form the intent to harm through the contact, an element of a battery claim. The trial court agreed with the state and held that the attack constituted battery. The trial court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim on account of the state’s immunity. The appellate court affirmed. Wagner appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, C.J.)

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