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Torts
Temple University School of Law
Sacharoff, Laurent

Intentional Tort
 
Battery: Intent to cause Harmful or Offensive contact with another person and such contact occurs
Definiitions
Intent – Must have intent to make contact – not cause harm
Knowledge – the act will cause contact
Purpose – you meant the action which made contact
Contact
Must be Harmful or offensive ( to reasonable man)
 
Case 1: Vosburg v. Putney – D kicks P in the classroom; P ultimately develops an infection and loses leg.
RULE – P must only show either that the alleged wrongdoers had an unlawful intention to produce harm or that he committed the harm. P breached decorum making his act unlawful.  Damages are all resulting injuries for act. 
 
·         The eggshell skull rule: If you commit an unlawful act, then you are liable for the consequences of that act, even if the ONE person you tapped on the head happens to be THE person in the world w/an eggshell skull
 
 
Case 2: Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel – P, who is black, while waiting in line to get food has his plate grabbed out of his hands by D and called him a nigger
RULE – to constitute battery – knocking or snatching anything from p’s hand or touching anything connected with his person is offense enough
 
Assault: If acts by a D create imminent apprehension in P of immediate harmful or offensive contact
·         Elements
o    Act By D – Volitional movement of body ( or words if surroundings force you to rely on them)
o    Intent – To cause harmful or offensive contact with other or third person; or imminent apprehension of contact
o    Apprehension – P placed reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive touching and must be aware of threat/.
o    Causation – P’s apprehension must be legally caused by D’s act or act set in motion by D
 
Case 3: I. De S and wife v. W. De. S – P’s bar was closed and when he was told to stop banging on door he swung axe and head of wife.
RULE – An act which caused another to be fearful of a armful or offensive contact is know as assault – damages may be recovered w/o physical contact or harm
 
Case 4: Tuberville v. Savage – P put his hands on his sword and said to D if court was not in session I would not take this language from you.
RULE – A threat will not constitute assault when there words that negate the threat. W/o intent to cause apprehension there is no assault. Mere threats of future harm are insufficient
 
Trespass to Land; Is the intentional unauthorized entry onto the land of another
·         Intent – to enter the land / do not need to show any harm was caused
o    D must be substantially certain that they are entering the land
·         Harm – even if there is no actual harm to the land
o    Trespass occurs as as soon as D come onto the property
EXCEPTION – Involuntary Acts – if pushed onto land by third party = no trespass
 
Case 5: Dougherty v. Stepp – D entered onto unfenced property of P, survied it, and made claim to it but no actual damages
RULE: Voluntary act to enter someone elses land (regardless of knowledge about ownership), is still trespass.
 
Trespass to Chattels – Intentional Interference with persons use or possession of person property that results to damage to their interests in it
·         Intent – To cause harm is not needed only need to intend to do act which caused the harm (took wrong book @ library)
·         Damages – Trespass to chattel only occurs when you can show actual harm
·         R §218 – Libel if act is harmful to the possessors materially valuable interest in physical condition, quality, or value in chattel or if you deprive them of it for some time.
 
Case 6 Intel v. Hamidi – P used D’s Server and email system as ex-EE to send mass email to staff (email did not harm PC’s)
RULE – To cause trespass to chattel you mush cause HARM or  Impaired the functionality of the equipment
 
Conversion – When D so substantiually interferes w/ P’s possession or ownership of goods that it is fair to require the D to pay the properties full value
·         Elements
o    Exercise Dominion and  Control over someone else’s property
o    Good vs Bad Faith – If you buy a stolen item in good faith it is probably trespass to Chattel and not conversion
o    Degree of Harm – If you return item w/ no change in condition except for time it is probably trespass to chattel
o    Inconvenience or expense caused to P
·         Conversion v. Trespass to chattel
o    Under Chattel you only pay for damages as a result of interference. Under coversion you pay to replace item
 
Case 7 Poggi v. Scott – P kept his wine in a building owned by D. D conned and thought the wine barrels were empty trash and sold them to two con men.
RULE – Conversion is always an intentional exercise of dominion or control over chattel. Intent is to do the act not the harm that came with it.
 
Case 8 Moore v. Regents – P has his spleen removed after which it was used to develop med products without his consent
RULE – When a P neither has title to the property converted or possession, he cant maintain an action for conversion
 
False Imprisonment – Elements
·         Act intending to confine another w/I a boundary which results in such confinement.
·         P must know he is confined or is harmed by it
·         Intent is needed – merely transitory or harmless confinement is not enough
 
Case 9 Bird v. Jones – P tried to enter part of road that was closed of by D. P was blocked by D’s guards and could not go where he wanted
RULE – to be falsely imprisoned you must be confined on all sides (like prison). P could have went a different way if he wanted.
 
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) – intentional or reckless infliction, by extreme and outrageous conduct of severe emotion or mental distress: Elements
·         Act by D – extreme and outrageous act
·         Intent – Intent to cause distress – reckless conduct also works if D should have known actions would cause distress
·         Causation – distress is enough ( older cases required to show injury)
·         Severe distress – more than reasonable person would expect to endure.
 
Case 10 Alcorn v. Mitchell – At the end of a trial D spit in P’s Face
RULE – any offensive touching may be trated as battery and IIED. Court wants to stop people from responding physically and punished offenders with damages is good alternative
 
Case 11 Wilkinson v, Downton – D plays prank on P by teller her that her husband was seriously hurt. P suffers mental shock and weeks of suffering
RULE – An act that is calculated to cause physical harm and does cause physical harm gives rise to damages
 
Defenses to intentional Torts
 
Consent; If defendant can prove that plaintiff consented to an act, it con normally overrule plaintiff claim of an intentional tort
Objective manifestation – would reasonable person believe P consented
Obrian v. Conrad – woman sticks out arm to get a shot – overt action is consent
Exceeding scope of consent
If consent given – D can perform action of nature consented but no other
Surgery – unless emergency threatens life – consent given for one surgery and one purpose will not constitute consent for a different procedure
 
Case 12 Mohr v. Williams – P went to get surgery for right ear. While D operating he discovered that right ear was fine but left ear had problem. Without seeking consent he operated on left ear.
RULE – since not life threatening consent must be sought. Becomes intentional tort / Battery
–          Doctor intended to cause ha

circumstance.
Standard if care us nit based in judgment of each individual
Land owner has general duty of care w/o negligently causing injury to others.
Use Objective standard – what would reasonable person do under same circumstances.
 
Children
Case 24 – Roberts v. Ring – D is 77 y/o who was driving down street when 7 y/o P ran out into street and was hit by him
RULE – adults are held to reasonable prudent man standard and D had plenty of time to stop the car.
To use contributory negligence defense we would hold p to subjective standard of child of his age and maturity
 
Case 25 – Daniels v. Evans – P (19 y/o) Was killed when his motorcycle collided with D.
RULES – when a minor undertakes an adult activity that result in grave danger to themselves or others – they are held to same standard as adults
 
Disabled
Case 26 – Fletcher v. City of Aberdeen – Workman for D negligently forgot to put up barrier after digging a hole and a blind mind (P) fell in.
RULE – D is required to provide safe streets for people including those with disabilities.  A disabled person need only use the same standard of care as reasonable person with same disability
 
Case 27 – Poyner v. Loftus – P was partially blind and while walking up ramp with no railing got distracted and fell of.
RULE – Injury not caused by blindness but by distraction. Reasonable person with same disability would have spotted end of steps
 
Case 28 – Robinson v. Pioche – P was drunk and fell into manhole that was left open
RULE – a person who commits gross negligence is liable for damages even if the P was not using reasonable care
 
Case 29 – Denver RR v. Peterson – Does a persons position determine the level of care due to them
RULE – the standard of the care to be met is of the reasonably prudent person in all circumstances
 
Standard of Care
 
 
CASE 30 – Blyth v. Birmingham water works – D had installed pipes on street p lives on – 25 yrs later frost froze the pipes which resulted in flood of Ps house
RULE – In order to be negligent, one must fail to do what reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances.
 
CASE 31 Eckert v. Long Island – P saw child on the train tracks and ran over to save him. The boy was saved but P died.
RULE – it is not negligent to save life of another unless the attempt is rash or reckless
 
CASE 30 – Blyth v. Birmingham water works – D had installed pipes on street p lives on – 25 yrs later frost froze the pipes which resulted in flood of Ps house
 
How to Measure what is Reasonable
 
CASE 32 – US v. Carroll Towing  – Barge attended abandoned barge for over 24 hours during which time it broke lose and hit other P’s barge sinking it
RULE – Learned Hand Formula to determine person violated reasonable man standard
The burden of the attendant being on the ship is less than the probability of the boat floating away multiplied by cost of damage it can cause
B= Burden
P= Probability
L = Cost of Injury
B
PL = Not negligent