X and Y work together on a construction crew. X is 25 years old, and Y is 19 years old. The crew boss, Z, runs a side venture organizing amateur prizefighting events. Z arranges about a dozen fights for each event, charges admission to spectators, and uses the money from the admission fees to pay the fighters. Z is solely in charge of the entire event.
Z has occasionally discussed boxing with X and Y, both of whom are fans of the sport. One day, Z asks X and Y if they would like to fight in Z’s prizefighting event being held that weekend. Z tells X and Y that the fighters in his events are matched by weight class, the fights are refereed, the fighters wear boxing gloves, and each fight lasts for four rounds of three minutes each. Z promises to pay X and Y $50 each for participating, and an additional $100 each if they win their respective fights. After listening to Z, and understanding Z’s proposal, both X and Y tell Z that they agree to participate.
The fights take place exactly as Z described them: both X and Y are matched against opponents of similar weight, in refereed matches, in which the fighters wear boxing gloves and fight for four three-minute rounds.
X defeats his opponent. During the fight, X incurs bruises, swelling, and several facial cuts. X then asks Z for $150, which represents $50 for participating, plus $100 for winning. Z tells X that, unfortunately, the night’s attendance was lower than expected, so Z can only pay X $75. After a brief argument, X takes the $75 and goes home.
Y also defeats his opponent. In the course of the fight, Y suffers a concussion, a broken cheekbone, and a broken nose. At the end of the fight, when Y asks for $150, Z tells Y that due to poor attendance, Z can only pay Y $50. Y takes the $50 and goes home.
Under applicable law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to engage in prizefighting. The law permits consensual prizefighting by anyone age 21 or older.
Both X and Y sue Z for battery. Z defends by arguing that both X and Y consented to participate in the fights.
- Ignoring any potential defenses, is Z liable for battery to X or to Y? Explain.
- Did X give legally valid consent to participate in the fight? Explain, including an assessment of the effect of any consent on X’s battery claim.
- Did Y give legally valid consent to participate in the fight? Explain, including an assessment of the effect of any consent on Y’s battery claim.