Bergman by Harre v. Anderson, 85-825

CourtSupreme Court of Nebraska
Citation411 N.W.2d 336,226 Neb. 333
Docket NumberNo. 85-825,85-825
PartiesJames BERGMAN, a Minor, By his Next Friend and Mother, Phyllis HARRE, Appellee, v. Royce ANDERSON, Appellant.
Decision Date28 August 1987

Page 336

411 N.W.2d 336
226 Neb. 333
James BERGMAN, a Minor, By his Next Friend and Mother, Phyllis HARRE, Appellee,
v.
Royce ANDERSON, Appellant.
No. 85-825.
Supreme Court of Nebraska.
Aug. 28, 1987.

Page 337

Syllabus by the Court

1. Torts: Battery: Assault: Intent: Words and Phrases. Battery and assault are separate torts resulting from a defendant's intentional actions directed toward another.

2. Torts: Battery: Words and Phrases. A battery requires an actual infliction of unconsented injury upon or unconsented contact with another.

3. Torts: Assault: Intent: Words and Phrases. An assault is a wrongful offer or attempt with force or threats, made in a menacing manner, with intent to inflict bodily injury upon another with present apparent ability to give effect to the attempt, without requiring that the one assaulted be subjected to any actual physical injury or contact.

4. Torts: Battery: Assault: Intent: Words and Phrases. The intent required for a battery or an assault contemplates only the intent to cause physical contact or injury or arouse an apprehension of imminent injury, as the assailant need not intend the precise or particular injury which followed as the result of the assault or battery.

5. Jury Instructions: Appeal and Error. Prejudicial error regarding jury instructions may not be predicated solely upon a particular sentence or phrase in an isolated instruction, but must appear from consideration of the entire instruction of which the questioned sentence or phrase is a part, as well as consideration of other relevant instructions given to the jury. All the instructions must be read together and if the instructions taken as a whole correctly state the law, are not misleading, and adequately cover the issues, there is no prejudicial error.

6. Torts: Liability. As a general rule, one who counsels, commands, directs, advises, assists, or aids and abets another individual in commission of a wrongful act or tort is responsible to the injured party for the entire loss or damage.

7. Pleadings: Actions. Under a code system of pleading, such as that in Nebraska, it is not necessary to state a cause of action in any particular form. It is only necessary to plead the facts, and not the theory of recovery.

Gregory R. Abboud, Omaha, for appellant.

Raymond J. Hasiak, Omaha, for appellee.

BOSLAUGH, WHITE, HASTINGS, CAPORALE, SHANAHAN, and GRANT, JJ., and COLWELL, District Judge, Retired.

[226 Neb. 334] PER CURIAM.

On the evening of October 16, 1983, James Bergman and his girlfriend stopped at a gas station near 84th Street and West Center Road in Omaha. As Bergman started to drive from the gas station, Royce Anderson drove into the station and parked his van in front of Bergman's car, blocking Bergman's exit. Anderson got out of his van and was accompanied by his three

Page 338

teenage sons and four of their friends. Anderson and his teenage companions, carrying baseball bats, approached Bergman's automobile and began beating on the hood with their bats. Anderson's group had been tracking Bergman because of a previous dispute between Bergman and one of Anderson's sons. After someone broke out the driver's side window, Anderson reached into the car, grabbed Bergman around the neck, and pulled him out of the car and onto the pavement. Anderson punched Bergman in the back of the neck and jaw and held Bergman down on the pavement while Anderson's companions kicked him. At trial, Anderson denied hitting Bergman, but claimed his actions in pulling Bergman out of the car were to protect him from the seven other individuals. As a result of the attack, Bergman was left bleeding from his nose and mouth and sustained injuries to his head and back. Bergman's car also sustained damage, including a broken windshield, broken headlights, and numerous dents.

In his petition, Bergman alleged:

That on the 16th day of October, 1983 at the vicinity of 84th and Center Streets the Defendant and certain minor children under the Defendant's direction did unlawfully and without provication [sic] did assault the Plaintiff by striking him on the head and grabbing him behind the head and dragging him out of the car. After being dragged out of the car the Plaintiff was struck again by the Defendant on the head and side. As ... a result of the assault by the Defendant and minors under the Defendant's direction the Plaintiff has suffered severe pain and mental anguish and the Plaintiffs [sic] body was badly bruised and injured.

Bergman also alleged in his petition that as a consequence of the attack, he incurred medical expenses in the amount of [226 Neb. 335] $216.55 and repair costs to his automobile in the amount of $923. At trial, a witness, testifying on behalf of Bergman and over Anderson's objection, testified that the actual repair cost would be approximately $2,000. Bergman requested that the court enter judgment for the specifically enumerated amounts, as well as for damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering.

After Bergman adduced evidence, Anderson unsuccessfully moved for a directed verdict, alleging that Bergman's petition failed to state a cause of action under the theory that Anderson acted in concert with others and aided and abetted in the commission of an assault or battery. Following the adduction of evidence, the trial court, over objection, gave the following "assault" and "battery" instruction:

"Assault" may be defined as a wrongful offer or attempt, with unlawful force or threats, made in a menacing manner, to inflict bodily injury upon another, with the present apparent ability to give effect to the attempt.

"Battery" may be defined as any intentional, unlawful physical violence or contact inflicted on a human being without his consent. The word "battery" also includes within its meaning "assault" as above defined.

Any unlawful or unjustified striking of another is an assault and battery, for the direct consequences of which the party guilty thereof is liable in damages.

Over Anderson's objection, the court also instructed the jury on the theory of aiding and abetting, using an instruction substantially similar to that contained in NJI 14.12, and providing in part:

Aiding and abetting involves some participation in the unlawful act and must be evidenced by some word, act, or deed. No particular acts are necessary, nor is it necessary that any physical part in the commission of the unlawful act is taken or that there was an express agreement therefor. Mere encouragement or assistance is sufficient.

(Emphasis supplied.) Following jury deliberation, the jury returned a general verdict, on which judgment was entered, in the amount of $8,000.

[226 Neb. 336] Anderson now appeals to this court and alleges that the district court erred in (1)...

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23 cases
  • Reavis v. Slominski, S-94-288
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • August 9, 1996
    ..." without requiring that the one assaulted be subjected to any actual physical injury or contact. (Citation omitted.) Bergman v. Anderson, 226 Neb. 333, 336, 411 N.W.2d 336, 339 A review of the record indicates that Reavis' trial strategy contained two theories. Reavis attempted to prove th......
  • Lefever v. Dawson Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 4:20CV3066
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • August 3, 2020
    ...be subjected to any actual physical injury or contact.Reavis v. Slominski, 551 N.W.2d 528, 536 (Neb. 1996) (quoting Bergman v. Anderson, 411 N.W.2d 336, 339 (Neb. 1987) (internal quotations and citation omitted)). Battery and assault are included within the PSTCA's "intentional torts" excep......
  • Salem Grain Co. v. Grain, S-16-995.
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    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • September 8, 2017
    ...Gen. Title Ins. Co. v. Malone, 289 Neb. 1006, 858 N.W.2d 196 (2015).56 deNourie & Yost Homes , supra note 51.57 Bergman v. Anderson, 226 Neb. 333, 338, 411 N.W.2d 336, 340 (1987).58 See, Koster v. P & P Enters., 248 Neb. 759, 539 N.W.2d 274 (1995) ; Bergman , supra note 57. See, also, Malon......
  • Jaso v. Schlemat, 4:19CV3106
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    • April 20, 2020
    ...subjected to any actual physical injury or contact." Reavis v. Slominski, 551 N.W.2d 528, 536 (Neb. 1996) (quoting Bergman v. Anderson, 411 N.W.2d 336, 339 (Neb. 1987) (internal quotations and citation omitted)). 5. Deliberate indifference is equivalent to criminal-law recklessness, which i......
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