Shauna Sullivanâ€™s son Simon, age nine, has been bullied at school because he has dyslexia. It all started when a supply teacher asked him to read a passage aloud in class. Since that time, Simonâ€™s classmate Matthew Maloney has been mocking Simon in front of the other kids. At recesses he follows Simon around, calling him â€œSimple Simonâ€ and other nasty names. Simon started hiding out in the bathroom or the library to avoid going outside at lunch and recess. Simon came home for lunch one day, burst into tears, and told his mother all about the bullying. Shauna decided to attend the parent council meeting scheduled for that afternoon knowing that the treasurer, Matthew Maloneyâ€™s mother Monica, would be present.
When the meeting was over, Shauna quietly beckoned Monica aside and, when Monica came over to talk to her, Shauna told her what was going on between Matthew and Simon. Monicaâ€™s immediate response was, â€œThat does not sound like Matthew at all. I think you should talk to your son about lying. Maybe if he wasnâ€™t an only child he wouldnâ€™t always need to be the center of attention.â€ Shauna was furious, but she saw that there was no point in talking to Monica about the problem and decided to make an appointment with the principal the next day. She left the school by the main entrance and walked to her car.
While Shauna was scraping snow and ice off her carâ€™s windshield Monica walked over, stopped beside Shauna, and said, â€œItâ€™s such a busy parking lot; Iâ€™d hate for something to happen to one of the children. For that matter, all the roads leading to the school are busy in the morning. Doesnâ€™t Simon walk to school alone? I think he sometimes crosses the road right in front of my car when Iâ€™m driving Matthew and Marsha to school.â€ Shauna responds by hitting Monica with the ice scraper and saying, â€œIf you know whatâ€™s good for you youâ€™ll steer clear of my son.â€
Applying the relevant and correct principle(s) of intentional tort discuss the following questions:
a) Does Monica have grounds for a civil action against Shauna? Does Shauna have grounds for a civil action against Monica? Please identify and discuss the tort/s that may apply in these circumstances. Provide reasons for your answer by testing the elements of the tort, with reference to the fact situation and the law. (12 marks)
Note: Application means you have to identify the correct legal concept, define it, enumerate the elements and then apply it to the fact scenario before drawing conclusion.