When people are assaulted and battered, the offender faces criminal prosecution and a potential civil lawsuit.
With the civil lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks money damages for the injuries received in the assault. The defendant is the person being sued for causing the injuries to the plaintiff.
I have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in assault and battery lawsuits.
Famous Case Example
Probably the best and most high profile example of the duality of assault-type cases regarding criminal and civil remedies for victims is the O.J. Simpson murder case.
Obviously, the assault and battery component of that case resulted in the brutal murder of two people. Mr. Simpson was put on trial for the criminal murder charge. The burden of proof in a criminal trial is very high-”beyond a reasonable doubt.”
O.J. and his criminal defense team benefited from that high burden of proof in the form of a NOT guilty verdict.
Civil Lawsuit Standard
The standard in a civil lawsuit trial for assault and battery or any other type of civil claim is much different.
The plaintiff must prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant did what the plaintiff claims he did.
It is a MUCH lower burden than the criminal case; essentially that the evidence proves that it is more likely than not to have happened. That is why O.J. got whacked for tens of millions of dollars in the civil lawsuit, which was based on the same set of facts and circumstances as the criminal trial.
Recent Defense of a Civil Assault Lawsuit
I represented a gentleman who was being sued by his ex-girlfriend for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Once I received the civil complaint and saw what the allegations were, not only did I file an answer to her complaint but I counterclaimed against her for:
- assault and battery
- intentional infliction of emotional distress
- abuse of process
Her lawyers’ initial demand for settlement was $500,000. I offered, on behalf of my client, $2,500. On the eve of trial, their final demand was $250,000 and our final offer of $5,000 as “nuisance money” was rejected.
After 5 days of trial, the jury found NO liability against my client and found that the ex-girlfriend was liable for an assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress against my client.