The defendant is walking down a city street while carrying a shoulder bag. A thief approaches from behind, snatches the bag, and runs away. The defendant sees the back of the thief. The defendant notices that the thief is of medium height, with short brown hair, and is wearing jeans and a denim jacket. The defendant chases the thief, who rounds a corner and disappears from the defendant’s sight for a few seconds.
As the defendant rounds the corner in pursuit of the thief, the defendant sees a pedestrian of medium height, with short brown hair, wearing jeans and a denim jacket. The pedestrian is walking swiftly away from the defendant. Without further thought, the defendant tackles the pedestrian, believing the pedestrian to be the thief. The pedestrian suffers injuries from falling to the pavement. The defendant was mistaken as to the pedestrian’s identity, and the pedestrian is not the thief.
Meanwhile, the thief escapes with the defendant’s bag. Inside the bag, unbeknownst to the thief, is a loaded handgun. The gun is loose inside the bag, and is not contained inside a holster. The defendant is permitted by law to carry the gun in the bag, and the gun is in good working order. The applicable law does not require that a gun be secured in a holster.
When the thief snatches the bag, the jostling of the bag causes another object inside the bag to come to rest against the gun’s trigger. The thief slows to a walk, and begins to look inside the defendant’s bag. While doing so, the thief trips over a crack in the sidewalk and falls forward onto the bag. The impact of the thief’s fall causes the gun to fire, injuring the thief. If the gun had been in a holster, then the trigger would have been covered and the gun would not have fired.
The pedestrian sues the defendant for battery, and the thief sues the defendant for negligence.
- Was the defendant privileged to tackle the pedestrian? Explain.
- Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the thief to avoid the harm caused by the gun? Explain.
Was the defendant privileged to tackle the pedestrian? Explain.
Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the thief to avoid the harm caused by the gun? Explain.