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Torts
South Texas College of Law Houston
Bauman, John H.

 
Professor Bauman
Torts I Fall 2015
Torts Cases, Problems, and Exercises 4th Edition
By: Weaver, Bauman

INTENTIONAL TORTS

I.                   Prima Facie Case
a.       Plaintiff must prove 3 elements to tort liability
i.      Act by the defendant
ii.      Intent and
iii.      Causation
b.      Act
i.      The act requirement for intentional tort liability refers to a volitional movement by the defendant
c.       Intent
i.      Specific Intent – Act with the purpose of accomplishing a particular result
ii.      General Intent – Knows with substantial certainty the result will occur
iii.      Transferred Intent – Actor intended to commit a tort against one person but instead
1.      Commits same tort against another person or
2.      Commits a different tort against a different person or
3.      Commits a different tort against the intended person
d.      Causation
i.      Must be legally caused by the defendant
ii.      Cause will be satisfied where the conduct of defendant is a substantial factor in bringing about the injury

II.                Battery
a.       An actor commits a battery if he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact or to cause imminent apprehension of such contact and harmful or offensive contact actually results.
i.      Elements
1.      Act
2.      Cause harmful or offensive contact or
3.      Cause imminent apprehension of such contact and
4.      Harmful or offensive contact results
b.      Intent
i.      Purpose to cause a result
ii.      Substantially certain to result
1.      Garrat v. Daily – young boy pulls chair from under Aunt
2.      Shaw v. Brown – 2nd hand smoke is not battery
c.       Harmful or Offensive Contact
i.      Harmful if it causes injury, pain or disfigurement
ii.      Offensive if a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities would consider it offensive
iii.      Can be intimately connected to the body
1.      Fisher v. Carrousell – manager would not black man eat at hotel
d.      Damages
i.      Compensatory Damages – actual damages
ii.      Punitive Damages – punishment
e.       Plaintiff need not be aware for battery to occur

III.             Assault
a.       An actor commits assault if he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact or to cause imminent apprehension of such contact and the actor has the apparent present ability to inflict the contact and apprehension of harmful or offensive contact results
i.      Elements
1.      Act intending to
2.      Cause harmful or offensive contact or
3.      Imminent apprehension of such contact and
4.      Has apparent present ability to inflict contact and
5.      Apprehension of such contact results
b.      Reasonable Person Test
i.      The apprehension must be reasonable
ii.      Knowledge of act – is plaintiff is not aware cannot be apprehensive of the act
iii.      Defendant apparent ability to cause harm – if ∆ has no ability to cause imminent harm then not reasonable
c.       Imminence
i.      Threats of future harm are insufficient
ii.      Must be with out significant delay
d.      Mere Words
i.      Words are not enough
ii.      Must be coupled with some type of act

IV.              False Imprisonment
a.       Commits false imprisonment when actor acts intending to confine or restrain the plaintiff within fixed boundaries by the actor, the confinement or restraint results and the plaintiff is aware of the confinement or is harmed by it
i.      Elements
1.      Act
2.      Intending to confine or restrain
3.      Fixed boundaries
4.      Actions result in confinement or restraint
5.      Plaintiff is aware or harmed by it
b.      Confinement
i.      Π is effectively restrained from movement in any direction
1.      Use physical barriers
2.      Threats of physical force
3.      Confiscation of important possessions such as keys or clothing
ii.      Π is not confined if a practicable exit is available
1.      Π must be aware of means to escape
iii.      Π has burden to prove ∆ confined π

V.                 Trespass to Land
a.       Actor commits trespass to land when the actor intends to enter land of another and does or cause a third person or thing to enter the land or remain on the land or fails to remove from the land the thing when there is a duty to remove it.
i.      Elements
1.      Intentionally enters another’s land or
2.      Causes a 3rd person or thing to enter land or
3.      Remains on the land
4.      Or fails to remove from the land a thing when there is a duty to remove it
b.      Harm Needed?
i.      No harm needed because intent of tort is to enforce title to land
ii.      Exclusive Possession – right to control who and what comes on to your land
c.       Enter
i.      ∆ does not need to actually enter land
ii.      can go over land or cause something to fly over land
iii.      Airplane flying over land is a prima facie case of tre

   ii.      Beyond all bounds of decency
iii.      Outrageous conduct can include:
1.      Harassment of a vulnerable individual
2.      Abuse of position of power
3.      Mistreatment of dead bodies
4.      The “mere insult” is NOT outrageous conduct
c.       Intentionally causes severe emotional distress or with recklessness regarding the infliction of such distress and severe emotional distress results.
d.      Causal connection between wrongful conduct and emotional distress
e.       Transferred intent doesn’t work here
f.        Torres v. Nickel: you just have to have severe emotional distress- court wont take it easy if it’s the boss
g.       Damages – how to prove severe emotional distress?
i.      Measurable and Tangible
ii.      Physical symptoms – something not seen before
1.      Severe enough to make client see Dr.
iii.      Relationship. Missing work, inability to sleep, weight fluctuation. etc.


DEFENSES TO INTENTIONAL TORTS

I.                   Privilege
a.       Is an Affirmative Defense
i.      ∆’s burden to prove
ii.      Defeats π’s claim even if all elements of a prima facie tort are proven

II.                  Consent
a.       An objective manifestation of consent forecloses a claim that might otherwise exist
b.      Consent may be shown by conduct
i.      Does not need to be verbally given
ii.      Smith v. Calvary Christian Church
1.      You can revoke consent at anytime
2.      Formal consent vs. implied consent (consent ‘manifested’ by conduct)
c.       Consent bars recovery if there is consent to the act done, even though there is no consent to the resulting injury
d.      Consent obtained by fraud or concealment of important information is not effective
e.       The scope of the consent is important; if actor goes beyond what is agreed to, the consent will not bar recovery
f.        Consent to a Criminal Act:
i.      Consent to a criminal act is effective and bars recovery for injuries received from the act
1.      Exception: where the criminal statute is designed to protect the class of persons to which the plaintiff belongs
2.      Examples:
a.       Statutory Rape – even if underage gives consent, is not a defense
b.     Illegal Prize Fights
c.      Voluntary (but illegal) euthanasia