Select Page

Torts
John Marshall Law School, Chicago
Lasso, Rogelio A.

INTENTIONAL TORTS

PRIMA FACIE CASE FOR BATTERY
Rule: A person is subject to liability for battery when s/he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact, and when a harmful contact results. (Snyder and Cohen citing Rest. 2d Torts)

I. INTENT to cause a harmful or offensive contact – Snyder v. Turk
a. Intent may be established without a showing of intent to inflict personal injury; it may be proven by showing intent to offend. Snyder v. Turk
b. Tests to prove intent:
i. Purposeful desire to harm of offend
1. Must be deliberate
2. Intent to act is not enough
ii. Knowledge that act is substantially certain to result in a harmful or offensive contact;
1. Reasonable Person Standard
iii. Transferred Intent
1. Torts can transfer to the same plaintiff or to an “unintended” third party.
c. Intent of Children
i. No absolute shield because of infancy. Liability depends on the ability for an individual child to form necessary intent.
d. Intent of Mentally Disabled
i. For policy reasons, a mentally disabled person can be held liable for an intentional tort.
1. Unless policy reasons don’t apply. White v. Muniz
a. Policy Reasons:
i. Between an innocent P and a person who has caused injury, the latter should bear the consequences
ii. Holding an insane person liable will motivate relatives to restrain him
iii. Not holding an insane person liable would motivate tort feasors to pretend insanity to avoid liability.
II. HARMFUL or OFFENSIVE Contact
a. An offensive contact is one which is offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity. Snyder
b. A contact may be offensive if D knew P found contact offensive Cohen v. Smith, Leichtman v. Jacor
c. Based on the principle that “every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with her own body” Cohen v. Smith
d. A contact may be direct or indirect Leichtman v. Jacor
III. CAUSE-IN-FACT
a. Factual connection between D’s act and P’s

rry out the threat
c. Apprehension created must be of imminent rather than future contact. Dickens
i. Imminent: Instantaneous; it means “without significant delay”
ii. D’s words may negate P’s subjective apprehension
iii. D must have had apparent ability to carry out threat
iv. P must be aware of D’s act
III. CAUSE IN FACT
IV. DAMAGES- presumed

PRIMA FACIE CASE FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT
Montra & Specific Conduct: describe the D’s conduct to be evaluated
Rule: False imprisonment occurs when a person confines another intentionally without lawful privilege and against her consent within a limited area for any appreciable time, however, short.

I. INTENT to confine (Purposeful, substantially certain, or transferred)
a. By acts
By words which P fears to disregard