DE INJURIA, pleading. The name of a replication in an action for a tort,
that the defendant committed the trespasses or grievances of his own wrong,
without the cause by,him in his plea alleged.
2. The import of this replication is to insist that the defendant committed the act complained of, from a motive and impulse altogether different from that insisted on by the plea. For example, if the defendant has justified a battery under a writ of capias, having averred, as he must do, that the arrest was made by virtue of the writ; the plaintiff may rely de injuria sua propria absque tali causa, that the defendant did the act of his own wrong, without the cause by him alleged. This replication, then, has the effect of denying the alleged, motive contained in the plea, and to insist that the defendant acted from another, which was unlawful, and not in, consequence of the one insisted upon in his plea. Steph. Pl. 186; 2 Chit. Pl. 523,.642; Hamm. N. P. 120, 121; Arch. Civ. Pl. 264; Com. Dig. Pleader, F 19.
3. The form of this replication is, "precludi non, because he says that the said defendant at the same time when, &c., of his own wrong, and without the cause by him in his said second plea alleged, committed the said trespass in the introductory part of that plea, in manner and form as the said plaintiff hath above in his said declaration complained against the said defendant, and this the said plaintiff prays, may be inquired of by the country," &c. This is the uniform conclusion of such a replication. 1 Chit. Pl. 585.
4. The replication de injuria is only allowed when an excuse is offered for personal injuries. 1 B. & P. 76; 5 Johns. R. 112; 4 Johns. 150; 12 Johns. 491. Vide 7 Vin. Ab. 503; 3 Saund. 295, note; 1 Lilly's Reg. 587.
5. In England, where the extent of the general issues has been confined in actions on contracts, and special pleas have become common in assumpsit, it has become desirable, that the plaintiff, who has but one replication, should put in issue the several numerous allegations which the special pleas were found to contain; for, unless he could do this, he would labor under the hardship of being frequently compelled to admit the greater part of an entirely false story. It became, therefore, important to ascertain whether de injuria could not be replied to cases of this description and, after numerous cases which were presented for adjudication, it was finally settled that de injuria may be replied in assumpsit, when the plea consists of matters of excuse. 3 C. M. &,R. 65; 2 Bing. N. C. 579 4 Dowl. 647.
6. The improper use of de injuria is ground of general demurrer. 2 Lev. 65; 4 Tyrw. 771. But if the defendant do not demur, the objection will not avail after verdict. Hob. 76: Sir T. Raym. 50.
7. De injuria puts in issue the whole of the defence contained in the plea. 5 B. & A. 420; 11 East, 451; 10 Bing. 157. But if the plea state some authority in law, which, prima facie, would be a justification of the act complained of, the plaintiff will not be allowed under the plea of de injuria to show an abuse of that authority so as to convert the defendant into a tort feasor ab initio. 1 Bing. 317; 1 Bing. N. S. 387. See 1 Smith's L. C. 53 to 61; 8 Co. 66.