I. Torts Outline
(a) Definition – A tort is a civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy. A person who breaches a tort duty (i.e., a duty to act in a manner that will not injure another person)
(b) Purposes of tort law: (1) to provide a peaceful means for adjusting the rights of parties who might otherwise “take the law into their own hands”; (2) to deter wrongful action; (3) to encourage socially responsible behavior; and, (4) to restore injured parties to their original condition, insofar as the law can do this, by compensating them for their injury.
(c) Intentional Torts
(d) Battery, Trespass to chattels, and trespass to land.
(e) There is no general meaning of “intent” when discussing intentional torts. All that the intentional torts have in common is that D must have intended to bring about some sort of physical or mental effect upon another person.
i. No intent to harm: The intentional torts are generally not defined in such a way as to require D to have intended to harm the plaintiff.
(f) Substantial certainty: If D knows with substantial certainty that a particular effect will occur as a result of her action, she is deemed to have intended that result.
i. Garratt v. Dailey – Brian Dailey, five years old, pulls a chair out from under P as she is sitting down. He may have known with substantial certainty that she was trying to sit, and would hit the ground.
II. Torts Outline
(a) Regarding intentional torts, we treat those with diminished mental capacity the same as undiminished adults.
i. Mcguire v. Almy- Mental person threatens nurse, nurse still goes in and is hurt (not assumption of the risk)- it was intentional still held liable
1. might be assumption of the risk if she had workers comp or it was a hospital
(c) Children are liable for intentional torts. Although the child may be liable, the parents may not have to pay.
(d) As plaintiffs with respect to comparative fault, children are given credit for their modified capacity as minors.
(e) High likelihood: But if it is merely “highly likely” and not “substantially certain,” that the bad consequences will occur, then the act is not an intentional tort. “Recklessness” by D is not enough.
(f) The act must be intentional or substantially certain, but the consequences need not be. (Example: D intends to tap P lightly on the chin to annoy him. If P has a “glass jaw,” which is broken by the light blow, D has still “intended” to cause the cont
he intent necessary for battery. This rule applies in the “transferred intent” situation as well. Thus if A intends to frighten B by shooting near her, and the bullet accidentally hits C, A has committed a battery upon C.
(c) Five “trespass writ” torts: (1) battery; (2) assault; (3) false imprisonment; (4) trespass to land; and (5) trespass to chattels. If the defendant intends any one of these and any one of these occurs, he is liable. For example, he is liable when he shoots to freighted A (assault) and the bullet unforeseeably hits a stranger (battery). Transfer only applies to trespass writs. Not always upheld in courts (Popper).
(d) Children and intentional torts:
i. Kids, as plaintiffs are different than kids as defendants.
Children defendants are treated as adults. We treat those whose mental capacity is diminished as adults. Why? As between a person injured and the one who has diminished capacity, the equity lies with the victim. This puts pressure on society to control children and those with diminished capacity.