Question

Joseph Doescher, a hospital operating room perfusionist (the person who operates the heart/lung machine during open-heart surgeries) filed an assault lawsuit against Dr. Daniel Raess, a cardiovascular surgeon, following a verbal altercation that occurred near an Indiana hospital's open-heart surgery area. The case proceeded to trial. The evidence indicated that Raess was angry at Doescher over reports to the hospital administration about the defendant's treatment of other perfusionists. Doescher testified that Raess aggressively and rapidly advanced on Doescher with clenched fists, piercing eyes, a beet-red face, and popping veins, and that Raess was screaming and swearing at him. Doescher further testified that he (Doescher) backed up against a wall and put his hands up, believing that Raess was going to hit him, "[t]hat [Raess] was going to smack the s**t out of me or do something." Then, Raess suddenly stopped, turned, stormed past Doescher, and left the room, momentarily stopping to declare to Doescher that "you're finished, you're history." After the jury returned a verdict in favor of Doescher and awarded him damages, Raess appealed. Was there sufficient evidence to support the jury's conclusion that the elements of assault were present?



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  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
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