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Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Hill

Alabama Court of Appeals
150 So. 709 (1933)


Facts

Western Union Telegraph Co. (Western Union) (defendant) had a contract to regulate and repair an electric clock in J.B. Hill’s business. Repairs were reported to Sapp, an employee of Western Union. One day Hill’s wife called Sapp to report a repair request. She followed up her phone call with a visit to the shop where Sapp worked. Sapp was behind the counter and Mrs. Hill asked him about repairing the clock. Sapp replied “if you come back here and let me love you and pet you, I will fix your clock.” He repeated this statement and reached out for her with his hand but did not touch her. Mrs. Hill immediately jumped back. When Sapp made this statement to Mrs. Hill he was close enough to put his hand on her but not close enough, due to the height of the counter, to actually touch her. Hill sued Western Union for assault. The trial judge submitted the issue of whether Sapp’s actions constituted an assault to the jury. The jury returned a verdict for Hill. Western Union appealed the matter to the Court of Appeals of Alabama.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Samford, 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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