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Torts
John Marshall Law School, Chicago
Scheid, John H.

I. DEVELOPMENT OF LIABILITY BASED UPON FAULT
a. Cases:
i. Anonymous (1466): A person can be held liable for injuries resulting from lawful, unintentional conduct
1. Liability without fault
a. Good: because it follows purposes of torts (see below)
b. Bad: Multiplicity of lawsuits
ii. Weaver v. Ward (1616): An actor is liable for injury directly caused by his act unless he can prove himself utterly without fault
iii. Brown v. Kendall (1850): If in the prosecution of a lawful act, a casualty purely accidental arises (ex: the injury was unavoidable), and the conduct of the defendant was free from blame, no action can be supported for an injury arising therefrom
iv. Cohen v. Petty (1933): when injury results from an unforeseeable event there is no liability
v. Spano v. Perini Corp (1969): One who sets off explosives is absolutely liable for damage caused without regard to trespass or fault
b. What is a tort?
i. A civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy
ii. Imposes duties on persons to act in a manner that will not injure other persons
iii. Person who breaches a tort duty has committed a tort and may be liable in a lawsuit brought by a person injured because of that tort.

Intentional: don’t have to have intent to harm, just intent to do the act. Don’t have to intend the circumstances

Intentional Torts

Intent Defined

Garratt v. Dailey (1955):
Facts: Defendant pulled a chair out from under plaintiff as she began to sit down in it.
Rule of Law: The intent necessary for the commission of a battery is present when the person acts, knowing with substantial certainty that the harmful contact will occur
Notes:
General view of intent: Where a reasonable person in the position of the defendant would believe that a certain result was substantially certain to follow his acts, the def will be considered to intend that result
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Spivey v. Battaglia (1972):
Facts: plaintiff appealed from a decision granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment contending his act of hugging plaintiff, which caused her injury, was not assault and battery as a matter of law, but was negligence her action was not barred by statute of limitations
Rule of Law: In the context of ascertaining tortuous intent, the knowledge and appreciation of a risk, short of substantial certainty, is not the equivalent of intent
Notes: only need intent or knowledge that powerful circumstances will result, no intend to do the harm needed
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Ranson v. Kitner (1889):
Facts: Defendants while hunting wolves, killed plaintiff’s dog believing it to have been a wolf
Rule of Law: Mistake does not absolve an actor from liability for the harm caused by his intentional act
Notes: intent held to be present when a result is substantially certain to occur, without regard to the actor’s desire, the actor’s belief as to the nature of the result of his conduct is normally irrelevant
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McGuire v. Almy (1937):
Facts: defendant, an insane ward, injured her nurse during a rage.
Rule of Law: An insane person may be capable of entertaining the intent to commit a battery
Notes: basic policy decision generally accepted here:
* the loss is better borne by the actor than the victim
* liability will encourage closer surveillance by custodians; and
* insanity is easily feigned
Counterargument: one should not be liable for actions not within his control ànot generally accepted
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Talmage v. Smith (1894):
Facts: defendant threw a stick at a boy but instead hit plaintiff
Rule of Law: When one intends to harm another, it is no defense that an unintended person was instead harmed (concept of transferred intent)

Battery

Definition: the intentional infliction of a harmful or offensive bodily contact
Restatement Definition: An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if:
1. He intends to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and
2. A harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results
Elements
1. Intentional Infliction
2. Harmful of offensive contact
3. Bodily contact
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Intentional Infliction
Cole v. Turner (1704):
Facts:
Rule of Law: the least touching of another in anger is a battery. An unintentional touching without violence is not a battery. The use of violence in a rude manner is a battery. An attempt to pass through a narrow way resulting in a struggle sufficient to do injury is a battery

Wallace v. Rosen (2002):
Facts: Highschool teacher touched a student’s mother to encourage her to leave the school building during a fie drill. The student’s mother fell down a stairway and alleged that the teacher’s touching of her was a battery that caused the injuries she incurred in her fall
Rule of Law: unintentional touching another person cannot constitute battery if the touching does not occur in a rude, insolent, or angry manner
Notes: there is a bit of reasonable touching in a “crowded world” that one must expect; therefore, reckless touching does not constitute intent for a battery
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Harmful or offensive: contact that causes injury or annoyance to another individual
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est we are protecting: Free will; freedom of movement
NO FALSE IMPRISONMENT, IF THERE IS A REASONABLE MEANS TO ESCAPE
PREVENTION FROM GOING IN A PARTICULAR DIRECTION IS NOT FALSE IMPRISONMENT
Big Town Nursing Home, Inc v. Newman (Court of Civil Appeals, 1970):
Facts: Plaintiff was 67 years old and was taken to a nursing home by his nephew. Papers were signed that stated that plaintiff could leave at his will and would not be held at the home against his wishes. Plaintiff tried to leave multiple times but was caught and brought back and locked up with dangerous patients. Plaintiff sustained injuries.
Rule of Law: One can be held liable for exemplary damages in a false imprisonment action if the false imprisonment is doen’t intentionally in violation of the rights of the plaintiff
Notes:
* exemplary damages can be awarded in a false imprisonment action if the act causing the actual damages is a wrongful act done intentionally in violation of the rights of the plaintiff
*Punitive are possible if defendant can proved to intentionally constrained plaintiff against will
* Whether or not an action for false imprisonment will lie depends upon whether or not there is a reasonable means of escape available to the person confined .
* If an individual could remained imprisoned without risk of physical harm, there is authority for the proposition that one cannot recover for injuries suffered in making an unreasonably dangerous escape
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Parvi v. City of Kingston (Court of Appeals of New York, 1977):
Facts: Plaintiff was picked up by police while intoxicated and driven by them to an abandoned golf course to sleep it off. During his testimony, he was unable to recall whether he was aware at that time of his confinement there.
Rule of Law: a plaintiff’s present recollection of a previous consciousness of confinement is not required to make out a prima facie case for false imprisonment
Notes:
* Can action on false imprisonment be brought when the plaintiff doesn’t have current recollection of the past event? Conscious of being confined at the time but forgets later, can you still bring action? YES
*Essential element: knowledge at the time of imprisonment that you are being imprisoned
*No past recollection needed; just some action on your part at the time of imprisonment that indicated you knew you were being falsely imprisoned