Torts Fall 2015
September 8, 2015
A. Why Tort law?
a. Compensating injured plaintiffs
i. Making the injured party whole
b. Deterrence – Parties in the suit from continuing behavior, People within the same industry
i. Potentially harmful courses of conduct
ii. Shirking of responsibility
iii. Encourages carefulness/risk prevention
c. Social Norms
d. Keeping the peace
B. Intentional Torts?
a. An intended injury to a protected legal interest
i. P alleges D intended to affect the P in some way that the law forbid and P is therefore entitled to damages from D.
C. What are essential elements?
a. Those facts a P must demonstrate in order to survive summary judgement or a directed verdict.
September 9, 2015
A. What is a battery?
a. Protects a person’s bodily integrity, the right to be free from intentionally inflicted contact that is harmful or offensive.
B. What are the elements of a battery?
a. An act by the defendant;
b. Intent to cause a;
c. Contact that is harmful or offensive
C. Polmatier v. Russ
a. D’s Argument 1: No act. Insanity caused act, so it couldn’t have been an external manifestation of my will
i. Court: Disagrees. Even an insane act manifests the actor’s will and it is thus an “act” for purpose of battery.
b. D’s Argument 2: No intent. Trial court should have determined whether I intended to kill my father-in-law
i. Court: Disagrees. “Intent is not limited to consequences which are desired. . . . it is not essential that the precise injury which was done was the one intended.
D. A battery requires an act.
a. Definition of “act”: an external manifestation of the will
i. An external – A movement or failure to move
ii. Of the will – There must be some evidence that the external manifestation was volitional
Septexmber 10, 2015
A. A harmful contact
a. Casebook note 2 – Distinguishing injury from harm
i. Injury: The invasion of a legally protected interest
ii. Harm: A loss or detriment
b. The harmful contact can be direct or indirect
i. Nelson v. Carroll: “It is enough that the D sets in motion a force which ultimately produces the result”
ii. = if the intended act causes contact, the contact element of battery is met
B. An offensive contact
a. An objective standard of reasonableness
i. Was the contact reasonable, would a reasonable person find the contact offensive.
ii. = an offensive contact is one “which is offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity”
b. Rule: A “contact” includes objects intimately associated with P’s body
September 12, 2015
A. Assault: Protects the interest to be free from an apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact
i. An ACT by D with;
ii. Intent to place P in;
iii. Apprehension of an
iv. Imminent harmful or offensive contact
a. Rule: An apprehension must be reasonable
b. An apprehension is not the same as fear
i. Anticipation that is harmful or offensive contact is imminent
ii. Even if I’m not in fact scared it doesn’t
i. A victim of potentially deadly force must retreat if it is safe to do so before using deadly force against the assailant
ii. If there is doubt concerning the safety of the retreat, victim may use deadly force
iii. Compare to “stand your ground” approach (majority/NC rule): A D need not to attempt to retreat before using deadly force to defend against an attack using same, even if he reasonably believes that a retreat can avoid the need to use s/d
C. Defense of others
a. One may use the same degree of force to protect others as one may be entitled to use to protect oneself.
September 16, 2015
A. Problem, CB p. 70-71, note 3
a. Mississippi state: Permits citizen arrest for trespass and grants a tort liability defense for reasonable use of force during that arrest
i. Did D commit one or more assaults?
ii. Did D commit one or more batteries
iii. If “yes” to either or both is the defense under the MS citizen arrest statute available to D
c. Rule: Self-defense must be in response to an immediate threat of harm
B. False Imprisonment
i. An act
ii. With intent
iii. To confine the P within fixed boundaries
1. Resulting in such confinement
a. Of which the P is aware