INTRODUCTION TO TORTS:
Prima Facie Case – The intentional infliction of a harmful or offensive contact on the person of another. (first time this case is being heard)
Garratt v. Dailey
The intent necessary for a finding of battery may be informed from the defendant’s knowledge about the circumstances surrounding the act (aka Substantial Certainty)
Simple Intent – Wanting to inflict harm. Trial court found that Dailey lacked this and was therefore not liable. Appeals court sees that there is another form of intent listed above based upon the Restatement of Torts.
Incident occurred in 1951 and now being appealed in Supreme Court of Washington in 1955. Appeal after verdict for defendant following a bench trial.
Two things happen at Appellate level:
1. Court must resolve dispute
2. Court is making law for everyone in that jurisdiction.
This is a case of first impression because there is no precedent of liability of an infant charged with alleged battery.
Issues: Can Dailey have intent to commit battery (does he have the mental capacity to satisfy the prima facie case)? Intentionality is really what this case is about.
Facts that are considered are based on Dailey’s account of the act.
Battery can occur through a very indirect means. This allows for a very murky situation because now it’s not so clear what intention is.
The reason why the court cannot just simply ask Dailey what he was thinking is because intent is a subjective concept objectively determined. You cannot be objective when asking for a subjective opinion (could give a self-serving admission).
Minor much more easily sued by a direct theory of recovery (like battery) then by something like negligence which requires the evaluation of risks.
In order to find guilty must have a preponderance of the evidence which can be defined as more likely than not (50% plus something).
Court relies on the Restatement of Torts (Which is not law – Often adopted as law because it gives guidelines, but it is a codification of law) to determine that there are two different types of intents.
Blythe v. Birmingham Waterworks Co.
Tortuous conduct vs. Unavoidable accidents
The defendant stands in a position to better know the apparatus that broke at least better than anyone else.
Pipes burst at the end of February and the unusual frost set in at the middle of January. An awful lot of time had passed between the build up of ice and the bursting of the pipes.
Today, things might be different and BWC should have been more responsible for their pipes and investigated changing weather patterns, etc. But in 1855, they could not have reasonably known what would happen given the unusual nature of the weather pattern.
Would it have been reasonable for the company to take the e
. Foreseeability constitutes the breach.
1. Actual – Physical concept. “But for…” causation.
2. Proximate/Legal – Policy intervention by which the negligent system allows people to get off because liability should limited to the scope of the negligently created risk. This is a policy limitation on liability.
Reasonable Care can be deduced in different ways: Reasonable person standard, looking to custom (at the discretion of the court to decide what weight to be given to customary practice) or professional standards (malpractice – experts will testify to the standards), negligence per se (doctrine by which we allow for statutory standards of care)
Hand Formula (B<PL) – Interesting quantitative tool, but it is merely a guide! There are many times when mathematical analysis is not applicable.
Critical substance of all of this is whether or not there is control – Does the master/employer, despite what’s been said or laid out in contract, exercise a sufficient degree of control over that servant/employee so as to hold the employer responsible for the actions of the employee.