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Torts
Stanford University School of Law
Sykes, Alan O.

TORTS OUTLINE

Instructor: Alan Sykes | Fall 2011

All page references are to Richard Epstein, Cases and Materials on Torts (9th ed. 2008)

Chapter 1: Intentional Torts (Intentionally Inflicted Harm: The Prima Facie Case & Defenses) (2)

Section B. Physical Harms (2)

Section C. Emotional and Dignitary Harms (2)

Assault; Offensive Battery; Trespass; Conversion

1. Defenses to Intentional Torts (3)

Consensual Defenses; Insanity; Self-defense; Defense of Property; Recapture of Chattels; Necessity

Chapter 3: The Negligence Issue (5)

Section B. The Reasonable Person (5)

Section C. Calculus of Risk (6)

Section D. Custom (7)

Section E. Statutes and Regulations (8)

Section G. Proof of Negligence (8)

2. Res Ipsa Loquitr

Chapter 4: Plaintiff’s Conduct (10)

Section B. Contributory Negligence (10)

Section C. Imputed Contributory Negligence (10)

Section D. Assumption of Risk (10)

Section E. Comparative Negligence (11)

Chapter 5: Multiple Defendants: Joint, Several, and Vicarious Liability (12)

Section B. Joint and Several Liability (12)

Section C. Vicarious Liability (12)

Chapter 6: Causation (13)

Section B. Cause in Fact (13)

Section C. Proximate Cause (Herein of Duty) (15)

1. Physical Injury; 2. Emotional Distress

Chapter 7: Affirmative Duties (18)

Section B. The Duty to Rescue (18)

Section C. Duties of Owners and Occupiers (18)

Section D. Gratuitous Undertakings (19)

Section E. Special Relationships (21)

Chapter 8: Traditional Strict Liability (21)

Section C. Ultrahazardous or Abnormally Dangerous Activities (22)

Section D. Nuisance (23)

Chapter 9: Products Liability (24)

Section B. Exposition (24)

Section C. The Restatements (25)

Section D. Product Defects (26)

1. Manufacturing Defects; 2. Design Defects; 3. The Duty to Warn

Chapter 10: Damages (28)

Section B. Recoverable Elements of Damages

Compensatory damages

1. Pain and Suffering; 2. Punitive Damages

Chapter 1: Intentional Torts (Intentionally Inflicted Harm: The Prima Facie Case & Defenses)

Section B. Physical Harms

1. Trespass to Person, Land and Chattels

RT §13. Battery: Harmful contact. An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if (a) he acts intending 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 (b) a harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

RTT §1. Intent. A person acts with the intent to produce a consequence if: (a) the person acts with the purpose of producing that consequence; or (b) the person acts knowing that the consequence is substantially certain to result.

Vosbury v. Putney:(Kid kicked classmate w/ recovering injury; leg amputated)

– Battery: Wrong-doer liable for all injuries resulting directly from the wrongful and purposeful acts, whether injuries foreseeable or not (intent to harm ~needed)

– Defenses: implied license (kicking on playground); injury bound to happen (~proximate cause)

Transferred Intent: It does ~matter if D does ~intend contended action towards P so long as intended action and its unwarranted injury towards somebody

Section C. Emotional and Dignitary Harms

1. Assault

I. de S. and Wife v. de S.: (D struck at P w/ hatchet after she told him to stop)

RTT §21. Assault. (1) An actor is subject to liability to another for assault if (a) he acts intending 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 (b) the other is thereby put in such imminent apprehension.

Notes

– Allen v. Hannaford: (Pointed unloaded gun; assault because apprehension)

– Long distance telephone call ~assault because no immediate apprehension

– Tuberville v. Savage: D: “If judges weren’t here”àNo threat, no assault

2. Offensive Battery

Alcorn v. Mitchell: (D spit in P’s face; damages because act was malicious)

RST §18. Battery: Offensive Contact

(1) An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if (a) he acts intending 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 (b) an offensive contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

(2) An act which is not done with the intention stated in Subsection (1)(a) does not make the actor liable to the other for a mere offensive contact with the other’s person although the act involves an unreasonable risk of inflicting it and, therefore, would be negligent or reckless if the risk threatened him.

Notes

– Conduct ~have to be harmful (e.g. kissing stranger)

1. Trespass

Doughtery v. Stepp: (D entered the P’s land w/o permission w/o damaging property)

– Unauthorized entry (on/above/below land) is a trespass

– Intent to complete physical act and not to injure

RST § 218, comment e. Trespass to chattels on common land: “…one who intentionally intermeddles with another’s chattel is subject to liability only if his intermeddling is harmful to the possessor’s materially valuable interest in the physical condition, quality, or value of the chattel, or if the possessor is deprived of the use of the chattel for a substantial time, or some other legally protected interest of the possessor is affected as stated in Clause (c). (e.g. kid pulls on dog’s ears but does not harm dog)

2. Conversion

Poggi v. Scott: (P sold crat

lty of an inhuman act, and if an injurious consequences ensue, liable to redress sufferer

RST §85. Use of Mechanical Device Threatening Death or Serious Bodily Injury: The actor is so far privileged to use a device intended or likely to cause serious bodily harm or death for the purpose of protecting his land or chattels from intrusion that he is not liable for the serious bodily harm or death thereby caused to an intruder whose intrusion, is, in fact, such that the actor, were he present, would be privileged to prevent or terminate it by the intentional infliction of such harm.

e. Recapture of Chattels

Kirby v. Foster: (P took money from D that he believed D owed him; D attacked)

– If one takes another’s property from his possession w/o right and against his will, owner or person in charge may protect his possession, or retake the property, by reasonable/necessary force if is prompt (hot pursuit req.)

– Where a person has come into peaceable possession of a chattel from another, the latter has no right to retake it by violence, whether the possession is lawful or unlawful

Notes

– Recapture of land. Landlords cannot lock out delinquent tenants

– UCC §9-503: A secured party may repossess collateral in the event of default w/o judicial proceeding if can be done w/o breach of peace (probably cannot trespass though; some states allow if no breach of peace)

f. Necessity

Ploof v. Putnam: (P moored ship to dock to save ship and family from injury during storm; D, through servant, unmoored boat; ship crashed, people hurt)

– (Necessity Doctrine) Can trespass if action taken to preserve life or property against nature or a third person other than P

– D cannot restrict necessary access, but ~obligated to help

Vincent v. Lake Erie Transportation Co.: (After cargo unloaded from D’s ship, storm starts; D moored to dock and even had to replace ropes, causing damage to dock; P sued for damages according to SL admiralty law)

– Necessity privilege, but damage à D pays for it

– Defense: If storm knocked ship before mooring, foreseeable under K

Notes

– Public necessity. Gov. or citizen can destroy private property to protect community; 1) destroy to stop fire OR 2) to prevent enemies from getting property; ~liable (usually P ~compensated, even by gov.)