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San Joaquin College of Law
Pearson, Janice L.


A. Definition of intent:
Desire to cause the consequences.
Knowledge to a substantial certainty that the consequence will occur.
B. Who is held responsible:
Minors can be held responsible if they can formulate intent.
Insane people can be held responsible as long as tort does not require sophisticated intent (slander, fraud.)
C. Transferred intent:
Intent can be transferred to 3rd party if harm results to that 3rd party.
Intent can be transferred between torts (assault, battery, and false imprisonment.)
Double transfer, A intends to assault B and ends up battering C.
D. Defendant’s mistake is not a defense if intent was present.

Battery-Volitional, unauthorized, intent to cause a harmful or offensive touching of another, when the touching actually occurs.
* Defendant must be responsible for putting the force in motion which caused touching to be liable (A shoves B into C, B is not liable.)
* No actual damages have to occur to recover for battery.
* Defendant bears risk of mistake when intent is present (A intended to shoot wolf, but shot dog, A is liable.)
* Touching of another includes touching of something that is an extension of another (dinner plate or book in hand, chair, etc.)

Assault-Volitional, unauthorized, act done with the intent to place someone in reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive touching, coupled with the perceived ability to carry it out.
* Victim must be aware of threat.
* Victim doesn’t have to be afraid of touching, only have apprehension that touching will occur.
* No actual damages have to occur to recover for assault.

False imprisonment-Volitional, unauthorized intent to confine by direct restraint, with boundaries set by defendant, with no reasonable means of escape, where victim is conscience of confinement, or suffers physical injury, and is done by force, threat of force, or assertion of authority.
* There needs only to be evidence that plaintiff was aware of confinement at the time it occurred, plaintiff doesn’t have to remember it later.
* Voluntarily going into prison cell doesn’t let the defendant off the hook if defendant has duty to release.
* No actual damages have to occur to recover for false imprisonment.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress- Conduct, which is intentional or reckless, extreme and outrageous, which causes severe emotional distress.
* Do not need intent if conduct was reckless.
* Do not need physical injury or physical manifestation to recover.
* Common carrier exception: (innkeeper, taxi driver, airplane, etc.) emotional distress doesn’t have to be severe.
* Authority or perceived authority over another.
* Bystander- must have at least one of the following in order to recover:

Defendant knew 3rd party was present.
Close relationship with direct victim.
Physical manifestation.

Trespass to Land-Volitional, unauthorized, intentional entry on to the land of another.
* Defendant bears the risk of mistake (A thought he was on own land, but was on B’s land, A is liable.)
* Failure to leave (stay longer than allowed,) or failure to remove something on another’s land per agreement is trespass.
* Airspace above land not necessarily included (courts recognize balance between use of air above and property rights.) [A bullet is a trespass.] * Mining below someone’s land is trespass.
* Invisible intrusions (gas, fumes, etc.) are usually treated as nuisance, not trespass.
* Minority of jurisdiction’s treat gas over property as trespass rather than nuisance.
* Particulates are trespasses if there is substantial damage to property.
* Any damage from trespass is part of liability regardless of foreseeability.
* Freedom of speech and like demonstrations may override trespass to land.

Trespass to Chattel-Volitional, unauthorized intent to meddle with the chattel of another, where there is actual damage.
* Must incur actual damages to recover (physical damage or deprivation of use.)
* Mistake is not a defense.
* Small interference, without intention of permanence.
* Can be the exceeding (beyond scope of permission) of consent to borrow.

Conversion-Volitional, unauthorized, intentional exercise of dominion over the personal property of another, where the interference is so severe or serious that converter must purchase the property.
* Bad motive can make it conversion.
* Must incur actual damages (loss of use, physical damage or destruction.)
* The more inconvenient (higher degree of interference,) more likely it’s conversion.
* Real property and things attached to the land can’t be converted (unless severed.)
* Bailee: If no notice of conflicting claim,

property owner bears the risk of mistake.
In hot pursuit
Timely oral demand before resorting to force

Retrieval of chattel on another’s land:
1. Owner of chattels fault- No privilege to enter. Must make a demand. If they don’t comply, must sue.
2. Their fault- Privileged to enter. Must make a demand. Can enter land at a reasonable time and manner. Will not be liable for damages (broken fence.) Can match any physical resistance with reasonable force.
3. No one’s fault- privileged to enter. Must make a demand. Can enter land at a reasonable time and manner. Will be liable for damages. Can match any physical resistance with reasonable force.
Shopkeeper’s privilege:

Reasonable belief that theft occurred.
Reasonable belief that this party committed the theft.
Reasonable investigation (detention) reasonable in every way.

Authority of law – Cops, they come and snatch my crops.


Mainly controlled by statute
Example includes parent disciplining child


Public Necessity-take or enter property in order to save the public at large

* No compensation to individual
* Privilege extends if the person made a reasonable judgment even if it turns out to be a mistake
* If lesser action would suffice, then no privilege for bigger action

Private Necessity-Take or enter property in order to save individual or individual’s property

* Must compensate individual
* Not liable for trespass therefore can’t be forced to leave and can use reasonable force to stop
* Must be a reasonable decision. You run a risk when taking or using property for protection
* Even if the person created the risk he can use private necessity

Justification-There may be circumstances where the commission of a tort is justified. Example: taking car keys from a drunken friend.