Do you remember the OJ Simpson criminal and civil trials of the 1990s? In that case, in June 1994, Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman were found stabbed to death. Criminal charges were filed shortly thereafter against OJ Simpson for murder. What people fail to remember is that in May 1995, a wrongful death civil lawsuit was filed against OJ Simpson on behalf of the Goldmans. However, the civil suit trial did not commence until after the criminal trial ended in the acquittal of Simpson in October 1995. The civil trial commenced in October 1996 and resulted in a jury finding of liability against Simpson with compensatory damages of $8.5 million.
People often wonder about the disparate results between the civil and criminal cases. The answer lies in the standard of proof. The criminal case required a standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt, while the civil case requires the lesser standard of preponderance of evidence , which means a greater than 51% chance that Simpson killed Goldman. So it would be much easier to obtain a finding of liability in the civil matter than in the criminal one.
The law allows a Texas civil action for assault by infliction of bodily injury if the defendant acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly; made contact with the plaintiff; and caused bodily injury to the plaintiff. The action of personal injury assault can also be brought against the employer if the assault was committed by the employee within the course and scope of his employment. This type of situation is known as vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior. A defendant can also be held liable for assault under the theory of participatory liability if the defendant aided and abetted another to commit the assault or participated in a conspiracy to commit the assault.