The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Blizzard; Bath Salts by Another Name Make New Mom Crazy in Hospital

Even though bath salts were exonerated in the case of the face-eater, they are still making folks do some crazy stuff. For instance, recently there was another man in Georgia who was running half-naked around a driving range, threatening people with a golf club, reports WSBTV Atlanta. It took six hits of the Taser and at least three officers to hold the man down.

The cake, however, is taken by Ms. Carla J. Murphy of Altoona, who had to be subdued after allegedly smoking “Blizzard” in the maternity ward of the Altoona hospital two days after giving birth to her child, according to the Altoona Mirror. Similar to other bath salts fiends, Murphy stripped naked before her rampage that included striking and trying to bite an officer and kicking a nurse in the chest before being sedated with anti-psychotic drug Haldol.

Battery is the ever-present personal injury charge when hitting is involved. To prove battery, you must show that you were intentionally touched by another person in an offensive manner. For example, being punched is a battery.

In this case, there were three classes of people that were hit or potentially touched by Murphy, the baby, the nurses, and the officers. There are different issues for each.

The Child

We’ll look at the child to illustrate an interesting point of battery law. If the child had been in the room, the child could have brought a battery case against Murphy through a guardian ad litem, if Murphy had blown smoke in the child’s face. Blowing smoke can be a battery because the smoke is a physical extension of a person that can touch someone in an offensive manner.

This would be difficult to prove and there are no facts showing it may have happened.

The Officers

The officers have a clear case of battery because they were hit and struck by Murphy (and also threatened to be bitten). However, police officers cannot bring a civil suit for battery. They cannot because through their profession they have consented to the possibility of being hit, much like a boxer.

This is usually known as the “firefighter’s rule,” and means that if a firefighter or officer is hurt in a manner directly related to the job that they cannot recover civil damages. Here, officers were hit while trying to subdue a suspect, which is directly related to their post as officer.

The Nurses

Clearly, the nurses are not firefighters or police officers, therefore they would have a good chance of recovering damages if they were to file suit.

So stay off the bath salts, or Blizzard, or MDPV, or whatever you want to call it. Because otherwise, you will end up like Carla Murphy, arrested and potentially both criminally and civilly liable for her actions.

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