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Torts Outline Fall 2007

Torts Outline Fall 2007

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Published by crlstinaaa
Torts, Fall 2007

Hofstra University School of Law, Professor Kuh

Torts and Compensation: Personal Accountability and Social Responsibility for Injury, 3rd Ed., Dobbs & Hayden.
Torts, Fall 2007

Hofstra University School of Law, Professor Kuh

Torts and Compensation: Personal Accountability and Social Responsibility for Injury, 3rd Ed., Dobbs & Hayden.

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Published by: crlstinaaa on Mar 05, 2008
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Intentional Torts
I.
Battery
- R2T § 13, 18: Liable for battery if (a) there is intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact, or an imminent apprehension of such contact, and (b) a harmful [or offensive] contact directly or indirectlyresults.
A.Elements for Prima Facie Case of Battery
a.Act by Defendant b.Intentc.Harmful or Offensive touchingd.Causatione.Lack of ConsentB.Requiring Fault
a.
Van Camp v. McAfoos
-Child riding tricycle hits pedestrian. Not liable – No fault.
C.Elements of Battery
a.
Liable for battery when (1) D acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact, and(2) when a harmful contact results. The least touching of another in anger is battery.
1.
Snyder v. Turk 
 – Dr pulls nurse’s face towards operation opening in anger.
b.
D also liable not relatively trivial contacts which are merely offensive and insulting(protecting personal integrity). Contact which is offensive to a reasonable sense of  personal dignity is offensive contact.
1.
Cohen v. Smith
– male nurse saw and touched P’s naked body, which was againsther religious beliefs (P had informed D). Liable – offensive touching.
2.
 Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, Inc.
 – intentional blowing of smoke inP’s face; D liable for battery. Offensive contact.a.Employer only responsible for torts of employees if employee is actingunder scope of employment.
D.
Intent
- R3T §1: A person acts with the intent to produce a consequence if: (a) the person actswith the purpose of producing that consequence; or (b) the person acts knowing that theconsequence is substantially certain to result.a.Substantial certainty of result can provide required intent
1.
Garrat v. Dailey
 – Child pulls chair out from under p; P falls. Even though Ddoesn’t desire to harm P, if D knows there is a substantial certainty P will beharmed, then intent element of battery is satisfied.
b.
Transferred intent
 
 – (1) tortfeasers intends tort on A, but commits tort on B; (2)tortfeasers intends a tort, but accomplishes another one.
1.
 Hall v. McBryde
- D shot gun at passenger in car, D accidently shot P, pedestrian. No intent to shoot P, but use transferred intent.
2.
Extended Liability – D commits intentional tort; liable for all damages resulting,not merely those intended or foreseeable
c.
Child Liability – Most states children still liable for torts. Some states have an age cut-off where children will be held liable (b/c presumed small children incapable of the requiredintent). Standard of care (to find negligence) of minor is that ordinarily used by similar children of same age.
1
 
1.
Parental Liability for the torts of their minor children – depends on statute (statewill enact usually if willful/wanton tort, and damages capped at a low amt $);common law says parents not vicariously for torts of their children.d.Insanity - R2T §895J - One who has deficient mental capacity is not immune from tortliability solely for that reason.
1.
 Polmatier v. Russ
– D insane at time he murdered P. Still liable, b/c he intended toharm him, although the reasoning for it was irrational.
e.
In a “dual intent” jurisdiction, the fact of insanity may be considered when determiningwhether an insane defendant appreciated the harmfulness/offensiveness of his/her conduct.
1.
White v. Muniz 
 – Dementia patient (w/ loss of memory, impulse control & judgment) hits caregiver. No intent b/c D couldn’t appreciate the harm of her conduct, due to her dementia.
II.
Assault
 – R2T §21 An actor is subject to liability to another for assault if (a) he acts intending to cause aharmful or offensive contact, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and (b) the other is thereby put in such imminent apprehension.
A.Elements for Prima Facie Case for Assault
a.Act by Defendant b.Intentc.Apprehension of immediate touchingd.Causatione.Lack of Consent
B.No contact required for assault
a.
Cullison v. Medley
- Ds intended to frighten P, by surrounding him and threatening himwith bodily harm with a revolver. P suffers chest pains & psychological trauma.
C.Some apprehension of the imminent contact is required for assault
a.
 Koffman v. Garnett 
 – D (football coach) tackled P, while explaining a technique, andaccidently broke P’s bone. No assault b/c no time for P to apprehend the imminentdanger. Once coach tackled him, the battery was already in progress.
1.
R2T §29(1) The apprehension created must be one of imminent contact, asdistinguished from any contact in the future. “Imminent” does not meanimmediate, in the sense of instantaneous contact . . . . It means rather that therewill be no significant delay.
III.
False Imprisonment
 – R2T §35 Liability for false imprisonment if (a) D acts intending to confinewithin boundaries fixed by D, and (b) D’s act directly or indirectly results in such a confinement, and (c)P is conscious of the confinement or is harmed by it.
A.
Elements for Prima Facie Case
:a.Act by defendant b.Intentc.Confinement without lawful privilege for any appreciable timed.Causatione.Lack of consentB.Physical confinement is not required; the confinement element of false imprisonment can beshown by other factual circumstances
2
 
a.
McCann v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc.
 – mere threats (can be implicit or explicit) of physicalforce can suffice; confinement can also be based on a false assertion of legal authority toconfine.
IV.Torts to Property
A.
Trespass to Land
– R2T §158: A trespasser is liable, even if no harm is caused, if heintentionally (a) enters another’s land or causes a thing or person to, or (b) remains on the land,or (c) fails to remove from the land a thing which he is under a duty to remove.
B.
Trespass to Chattels
– R2T §217: (Chattels are personal property). Trespass to chattels is theintentional dispossession, use or intermeddling of another’s chattel. With trespass to chattels,you
must show actual damages
.
C.
Conversion of Chattels
– R2T §222A: Conversion is when property is interfered with theowner’s control of it in a “complete or very substantial” way, and owner can get the value (butnot the thing back). Factors in determining the extent of interference and if actor must pay back owner: (a) extent & duration of actor’s control over chattel, (b) actor’s intent to take awayowner’s control, (c) actor’s good faith, (d) harm done to chattel, (e) inconvenience & expensecaused to the owner.
V.Forcible Harms as Civil Rights Violations
A.
The §1983 Claim (Summary): Every person shall be liable to the party injured under thefollowing circumstances: (1) when that person deprives the party of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and (federal) laws, and (2) does so under color of state or other local law.
a.
Yang v. Hardin
 – forcible harm against Yang by police officer Brown. Hardin there butdidn’t interfere. D’s failure to interfere deprived Yang of his civil rights.
b.
 Brown v. Muhlenberg Township
 – D (police officer) shot and killed P’s dog, who was not posing any imminent danger. Unreasonable seizure within the meaning of the 4
th
amendment.B.Exemplars of Constitutional Violations
a.
4th Amendment - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures
b.
14th Amendment - no deprivation of life, liberty or happiness without due process
c.
8th Amendment - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
d.
County of Sacramento v. Lewis
– suspect killed in police chase. P alleges rights under 14
th
amendment. No intent to injure; recklessness insufficient to show a due process violation.
VI.Affirmative DefensesA.Protecting Against the Apparent Misconduct of the Plaintiff 
a.
Self-Defense
– R2T §70: There must be an
immediate
threat of harm to trigger the self-defense privilege. You must have a reasonable belief that force is necessary, but you can be mistaken. You can use reasonable force in amount and duration based on thecircumstances to protect your person.
1.
The force you use must be
 proportional 
in some sense.2.Words are insufficient provocation to trigger the privilege of self-defense becauselanguage doesn’t constitute assault.
3.
You can only use deadly force to counter deadly force.
3

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