Wilkinson v. Downton

[1897] 2 Q.B. 57 (1897)

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Wilkinson v. Downton

Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court
[1897] 2 Q.B. 57 (1897)

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Facts

Downton (defendant), as a practical joke, told Wilkinson (plaintiff) that her husband had been terribly injured in a car accident and that she should go to him at once. All this was false. Wilkinson reacted to the news by vomiting and suffering a violent shock to her nervous system. She also suffered more permanent physical consequences requiring weeks of suffering, incapacity, and medical attention. These physical issues did not exist prior to Downton’s practical joke. Wilkinson sued Downton, seeking to recover actual damages for the train fares incurred in sending help to her husband and also damages for the illness and suffering induced by the shock to her nervous system.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wright, J.)

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