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Torts Outline

Oct 24, 2014




DEVELOPMENT OF LIABILITY BASED ON FAULT Case: Anonymous (1466) No need to prove intent - P is entitled to recover (regardless of intent or circumstances) Case: Weaver v. Ward (1616) Question of negligence enters Gradual separation between negligence and intent Soldier shot another accidentally, and held responsible b/c liable for injuries directly caused by your actions, unless utterly without fault. **added possible excuse for D -if someone else caused the action with his object. Case: Brown v. Kendall (Mass, 1850) - Battery Claim Trespass --> assault &battery - while hitting two dogs to stop them from fighting d struck p - verdict for p No intent to harm - use of ordinary care - If D actions were unintentional and he acted with due care, not liable. Makes act involuntary and unavoidable w/in the circumstance The burden of proof is on the P to show that the D didnt act w/ necessary care or that he did with intent. - P failed to sustain the burden of proof Extraordinary care to be used for acts that were unnecessary Blessed be the risk takers, for they will not inherit the loss, unless they are strictly liable, intentional or negligent Case: Cohen v. Petty (1933) - Negligence Claim P riding as passenger in d's car when d fell ill and lost control of the car - p failed to show any actionable negligence, Pg 12 n.1-3 When injury results from something that is unforeseeable there is no liability for negligence. Case: Spano v. Perini (1969) - Strict Liability Claim - liability without 'fault'(?) P property damaged due to blasting on nearby property of d's -p relied on absolute liability due to action of using blasting materials Strict liability applies (no need to show intent or negligence) because of abnormally dangerous activity of blasting - Mirrors Anonymous case - no need to prove intent -the question is who should pay not whether the act is actually unlawful 1. INTENTIONAL TORTS -Seven intentional torts -Look at the supersensitive p - are we taking super sensitivities into account - no treat the p as an average person - one exception is where the d knows of the sensitivities (seldom happens) Prima Facie case for Intentional Torts, P must prove: 1. Act by Defendant-the act required is a volitional movement by D. 2. Intent- Must intend the act that amounts to or produces the unlawful invasion and the intrusion must be the virtually inevitable consequence of the willful act. a. Specific intent-the goal in acting is to bring about specific consequences b. General intent-the actor knows w/ substantial certainty that these consequences will1

result c. Transferred Intent: -intent can be transferred from person to person -intent can be transferred from tort to tort (within the intentional torts) a. Only applies where the intended tort and the actual tort is assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land, or trespass to chattel b. Talmadge v Smith-D threw stick at 1 boy and hit another. Liable. c. Rule: transferred intent cannot be claimed if the original intent is fulfilled d. It is the intent to bring about the consequences of the tort and not injury. Thus, a person may be liable for unintended injuries from the consequences of the tort. a. Vosburg v Putney-schoolboy kicked another lightly boy didnt feel it. Prior condition lit up and causes $2500 injuries. e. Motive impels a person to achieve a result. Intent denotes the purpose to use a particular means to cause that result. Therefore, even if a person acts w/o a hostile motive or desire to harm, or even when he is seeking to aid the P, he may be liable. a. Mistake does not absolve a person from being held liable for intentional tort. i. Ranson v. Kitner-killed dog mistaken for a wolf and held liable f. Everyone is capable of intent in intentional torts-even minors and incompetents. 3. Causation-the Ds conduct must have been a substantial factor in bringing about the injury. *the courts are more willing to extend the chain of causation here than by negligence.* a. Garratt v. Dailey-child pulled chair out from old woman and held liable. 1-BATTERY Restatement 2d of Torts (1965) Pg 33 D intends harmful/offensive contact to the P & harmful contact results either directly or indirectly - remember to take into account the context of the act (Wallace v. Rosen) a. Battery Prima Facie case, need to prove: 1) harmful/offensive contact by the D i. Judged by whether it would be harmful or offensive to the reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities. ii. A contact is deemed offensive if the P hasnt consented to it. 2) to the Ps person i. anything connected to the Ps person is viewed as part of the Ps person ii. Fischer v Carousel-D snatched plate from P and held liable 3) Intent by the D to bring about the contact to the Ps person or Substantial Certainty - an occurrence is obviously 'intentional' if the actor desires to bring it about - but tort law also calls it intentional if the actor didn't desire it but knew with substantial certainty that it would occur as a result of his action. The consequences do not have to be intended or substantially certain or even foreseeable. 4) Causation i. Contact can be direct or indirect (if he sets in motion a force that causes contact to the P Garret v. Dailey) b. Apprehension is not necessary-a person may recover for battery even though he is not conscious of the contact when it occurs c. Actual Damages not required-p doesnt need to prove actual damages to establish a prima facie case. P can recover at least nominal damages even if he suffered no severe actual damages. If malice, punitive damages would be awarded.2

a. an intentional invasion of personal space constitutes a battery-doesnt need to be physical injury Indirect Battery Case: Garrett v. Dailey (WA SC, 1955) Facts: p claims d pulled chair out from under her sister, causing her sister to fall and sustain injuries D claimed it was a misunderstanding - did not intend for p's sister to injure herself when he moved the chair, p's sister not testifying Restatement clause (a) sec 13 - Character of Actor's Intentions - Distinction between a volitional act but not a malicious act - act must be done with the purpose of causing the contact or apprehension or with the knowledge on the part of the actor that such contact or apprehension is substantially certain to be produced. No intent to harm necessary Case: Vosburg v. Putney (1891) D a schoolboy kicks P - jury finds that although d intended to kick p he did not intend to harm him. Nonetheless p suffers severe injuries - D's intent or lack of intent to harm is irrelevant as long as D intended to kick P Reasonable Knowledge of the risk - to separate negligence or intent Case: Spivey v. Battaglia(SC FL, 1972) Friendly unsolicited hug given with such force that it caused serious injury - P sued D for negligence and assault and battery D claimed only assault and battery - since statue of limitations had run out on this - and asked for summary judgment Court found that there was 'no substantial certainty that the hug would cause the injuries' and found for negligence - st of lim had not expired on this cause of action (intent is defined as reasonable knowledge of the risk ) foreseeability and volition Pg 23 n.5 Foreseeability important in intentional torts? - no, looking at substantial certainty of act and its tortious consequences Question: What did the actor know and when did she know it? And Intention and negligence distinguished - what difference does it make? Minimum Amount of D's Intent or Knowledge of Outcome to be Proven by P Case: Ranson v. Kitner (Ap Ct IL, 1889) dog mistaken for a wolf, and killed the dog-tort of trespass to chattel. D held liable This was really a mistake, and we ordinarily differentiate mistakes and intent; but sometimes mistake seems to be that it really may be intentional. Issue: is a good faith mistake nonetheless intentional? Our cases (since Brown v Kendall) require the universe of potential P to be more careful like the older rule required D to be more careful. Because until a P can show that intent/fault, hes left with the loss. In cases, think whether the D crossed the line between liability and non-liability (not the Ps actions right now) Holding: Mistake is not the opposite of intent! Even honest, lawful mistakes can bring a D into the line of liability.3

This was not risk creation - which implies negligence - this is substantial certainty that the act of shooting at animal would kill that animal - mistake of what the animal was doesn't matter P has to prove d's purpose to do something that then turned out to be tortious It was enough for the D to have purpose, knowledge, or substantial certainty that a result will occur even if the outcome is unexpected (result has to be a tortious invasion of the p's protective interests) even for good faith mistakes Insane Person can be held Liable for Intentional Tort Case: McGuire v. Almy (SC Mass, 1937) P taking care of D when D had a violent attack of insanity and struck P with a chair while P was trying to secure her, judgment for p Intent is still there even though person may be insane Compare to Weaver Why are people who are not criminal still held liable - if able to form intent then liable for tortious results of intended actions Public Policy Reasons: 1-actor should bear the burden of paying for damages 2-guardians are encouraged to take more care of watching over insane person Transferred Intent Case: Talmadge v. Smith Smith attempting to get 2 boys off of his shed threw a stick at one boy but hit a third unseen boy-P. P sued. Judgment for P - even if D intended to commit tort of assault he ended up committing tort of battery Use of Physical Force Case: Cole v. Turner (Nisi Prius, 1704) Defines Battery as: 1-least touching of another in anger is battery 2-2 people meet in a narrow way and touch without design of harm or violence is not battery 3-if there is violence by one to another there is then battery -inte