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Chapter 7: Intentional Torts

1. All forms of civil liability are either :

a. Voluntarily assumed (by contract)

b. Involuntarily assumed (imposed by law)- Tort liability

2. Tort law gives persons redress from civil wrongs or injuries to their person,
property, and economic interests.

a. Assault and battery, automobile accidents, professional malpractice,


and products liability.

b. The law of tort has 3 objectives:

i. To compensate persons who sustained harm or loss resulting


from another’s conduct.

ii. To place the cost of that compensation only to those parties who
should bear it.

iii. To prevent future harms and losses.

3. Tort is committed when:

a. A duty owed by one person to another

b. Is breached

c. Proximately causes

d. Injury or damage to the owner of a legally protected interest.

i. Injuries may be inflicted intentionally, negligently, or without


fault (strict liability).

e. Punitive or exemplary damages.

4. Tort Reform focused on limiting liability by restricting damages or narrowing


claims.

5. Intent does not require a hostile or evil motive; actor desires to cause the
consequences of his act or that he believes that those consequences are
substantially certain to result from it.
a. Incompetents, like infants, are generally held liable for their intentional
torts

i. Infant’s age and knowledge are critical in determining whether


the infant had sufficient knowledge to form the requisite intent.

6. Harm to the person- primary interests protected by these torts are:

a. Battery (Freedom from bodily contract)

i. Intentional infliction of harmful or offensive bodily contract


(causing serious injury or little or no physical injury)

ii. Bodily contract is offensive if it would offend a reasonable


person’s dignity (joke/compliment)

b. Assault (Freedom from apprehension)

i. Intentional conduct by one person directed at another that


places the other in apprehension of imminent (immediate)
bodily harm or offensive contract.

ii. Damages for assault may include compensation for fright and
humiliation.

iii. The person in danger of immediate bodily harm must have


knowledge of the danger and be apprehensive of its immediate
threat to his safety.

c. False Imprisonment (Freedom from confinement)

i. Intentional confining of a person against her will within fixed


boundaries if the person is conscious of the confinement and is
harmed by it.

ii. May be brought by physical force, the threat of physical force


(express and implied), physical barriers, or by force directed
against the plaintiff’s property.

iii. Damages include compensation for loss of time, physical


discomfort, inconvenience, physical illness, and mental
suffering.

d. Infliction of Emotional Distress (Freedom from Mental distress)


i. Recklessness is conduct that evidences a conscious disregard of
or an indifference to the consequences of the act committed.

ii. Courts impose liability for conduct exceeding all bounds usually
tolerated by society when such conduct intentionally or
recklessly causes serious mental distress.

iii. Does not protect a person from abusive language or rudeness,


but rather from atrocious, intolerable conduct beyond all bounds
of decency.

7. Harm To The Right of Dignity- (reputation, privacy, right to freedom from


unjustifiable ligitation)

Defamation • Defamation is a false communication that injures a person’s


reputation by disgracing him and diminishing the respect in which he
is held.
• A false and defamatory statement concerning another
• An unprivileged publication(communication)n to a third party
• Depending on the status of the defendant, negligence or
recklessness on her part in knowing or failing to ascertain the falsity
of the statement
• Proof of special harm caused by the publication.
• Defenses to Defamation
o Privilege is the immunity from tort liability granted when
the defendant’s conduct furthers a societal interest of
greater importance than the injury inflicted upon the
plaintiff.
o Absolute Privilege protects the defendant regardless of
his motive or intent (statements made by participants in
judicial peoceedings, by Congress and by members of
state and legislative bodies; by certain executive branch
officers, regarding a third party made between spouses
when they are alone)
o Qualified/ Conditional Privilege depends on the use of the
privilege (publish defamatory matter to protect his own
legitimate interests/ another, letters of reference)
o Constitutional Privilege- must prove that the defendant
published the defamatory and false comment with malice
and negligence/ with knowledge or in reckless disregard
of the truth.
Invasion of • Appropriation is the unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s name or
Privacy likeness for the defendant’s benefit (Right of publicity protect
individual’s right to the exclusive use of his identity.)
• Intrusion id the unreasonable and highly offensive interference with
the solitude or seclusion of another.
o Improper entry into another’s dwelling, unauthorized
eavesdropping upon another’s private conversations, and
unauthorized examination of another’s private papers and
records.
Public • Courts impose liability for publicity given to private information about
disclosure another if the matter made public would be highly offensive and
of Private objectionable to a reasonable person.
Facts • Applies only to private
• Requires that private facts to be communicated to the public at large
or became public knowledge.
• Applies to truthful private information
False Light • Imposes liability for publicity that places another in a false light that
is highly offensive if the defendant knew or acted in reckless
disregard of the fact that the matter publicized was false.
• Matter must be false and must be publicized (not published)

8. Misuse of Legal Procedure

a. Malicious prosecutions

b. Wrongful civil proceedings

c. Abuse of process

9. Harm to Property
Real • A land and anything attached to it (buildings, trees, and minerals)
property • Law protects the possessor’s rights to the exclusive use and quiet
enjoyment of the land.
• Damages include compensation for the resulting diminution in the
value of the land, loss of used of the land, and the discomfort caused
to the possessor of the land.
o Trespass
o Nuisance is a non trespassory invasion of an other’s
interest in the private use and enjoyment of land (smoke,
dust, odor)
Personal • Chattel, any type of property other than interest in land.
property • The law protects interest in the property’s physical condition and
usability, retention of possession, and availability for future use.
o Trespass- the intentional dispossession or unauthorized
use of the personal property of another.
o May be direct or indirect
o Conversion is an intentional exercise of dominion or
control over another’s personal property.
o All conversions are trespasses but not all trespassers are
conversions.
o Conversion may consist of the intentional destruction of
personal property or use the property in an unauthorized
manner.
o A person who buys stolen property is liable to the rightful
owner for conversion regardless the buyer purchases in
good faith or without knowledge it was stolen.

10. Harm to Economic Interests

a. Interference with Contractual Relations- intentionally causing one of


the parties to a contract not to perform

b. Disparagement- publication of false statements about another’s


property or products

c. Fraudulent Misrepresentation- false statement, made with knowledge


of its falsity, intended to induce another to act.

11. Defenses to Intentional Torts


a. Consent which signifies that one is willing for an act to occur (must be
given by an individual with capacity, not effective if given under
duress)

b. Privilege-self-defense, defense of property, and defense of others,


absolute immunity