Can You Really Be Sued $1 Million for Slapping Someone?

Yigal Azrouel Fashion Show at Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, during New York Fashion Week in 2008.

When an editor of a French fashion magazine slapped a public relations executive in the face during a New York Fashion Week event Sept. 9, she in turn got slapped with a lawsuit. Lynn Tesoro, the PR exec, is reportedly seeking at least $1 million in damages from Jennifer Eymere, the fashion editor, for "assault, battery, emotional distress, slander and/or libel."

Eymere admitted to slapping Tesoro during a heated mix-up over seating arrangements, according to ABC News. But, she said, "it was a small slap. It was not strong. I didn't hurt her, it was just to humiliate her."

Intentions aside, can you really be ordered to pay $1 million for slapping someone?

It depends on who you are and who you slapped, attorneys say. According to John Lenoir of Lenoir Law Firm in New York City, "If it was during Fashion Week, depending on who was slapped they may be able to collect a little more than somebody who gets slapped during an argument in a grocery store." And why is that? "It's just inherent biases. If somebody rich is injured, they're more likely to get more money. They are seen to have been damaged more because in the eyes of society they are worth more," Lenoir told Life's Little Mysteries.

Steve Peskin of Tolmage, Peskin, Harris & Falick, a New York City personal injury law firm, concurred, saying the amount a judge or jury would grant a slap victim depends entirely on the people and the circumstances. "If she was a runway model and the slap caused a disfiguring scar, one million dollars would be chump change," Peskin said.

He added that technically, it's not up to the person filing the lawsuit how much money they want; it's up to the court to decide how much to award.

For regular slappers and slappees, "there's practically zero chance that there will be an award for anywhere near one million dollars or even for more than $20,000," Lenoir said. "I'd put $20,000 at the high end."

Was the French slap worth it? Afterwards, Eymere reportedly said, "I humiliated her in front of her crew. Voilà. I just said at the end, 'Now you know you don't [expletive] with French people."

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