Earlier this week a streaker thought it was a good idea to run onto the field during a CFL game. Not taking too kindly to the unwanted interruption Marcell Young of the BC Lions took matters into his own hands and put an end to the streakers 15 seconds of fame.
The ‘fan’ has now hired a personal injury lawfirm and is alleging the incident caused brain injury. The firm published a press release noting “Our client suffered serious injuries, including a mild traumatic brain injury, as a result of being violently struck by BC Lions player Marcell Young. Our client has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home. His future prognosis remains unclear. ” These allegations of injury have yet to be proven in Court.
So is there merit in this potential lawsuit? While controversial, there can be.
The fan had no business being on the field. Interrupting the game can bring a host of legal consequences for the fan. However, security guards, players or anyone else looking to end the streaker’s ill-conceived fun must do so with a reasonable amount of force in the circumstances. Exceeding this can bring damages under the tort of battery.
The law of battery is rather straightforward. A Plaintiff simply needs to prove that the Defendant made intentional and unwanted contact with him and harm indeed occurred as a result of the contact.
From there a Defendant is free to raise defenses such as consent, provocation or self defense. BC Courts have stated as follows when justifying battery via self defense:
Self defence imports the idea that the defendant is under attack at the hands of the plaintiff, or reasonably believes that he will be subject to such an attack, even if the plaintiff has neither the intention nor the power to make such an attack. Even if the circumstances entitle the defendant to claim he was acting in self defence, he cannot escape liability unless he discharges the burden of proving that the amount of force he used was reasonable in all the circumstances. This will depend on the court’s assessment of the situation, taking into account the form and nature of the plaintiffs attack on the defendant and the reasonableness of the response of the defendant.
And the following for provocation:
In order to amount to provocation, the conduct of the plaintiff must have been “such as to cause the defendant to lose his power of self-control and must have occurred at the time of or shortly before the assault.”