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Torts
Temple University School of Law
Haddon, Phoebe A.

I.      Intentional Torts
A.     Introduction
1.     Interests protected: Physical, Dignitary, Emotive, Mobility
2.     Minors: Not usually held liable until a certain age (depends on jurisdiction)
B.     Prima Facie Case: 1) an act by D; 2) intent; 3) causation.
1.     Act: must be voluntary
a)     Unconscious acts insuff.
b)     Reflexive acts insuff.
c)     Mentally incompetent (minors, insane people, etc.) are still capable of volitional conduct
2.     Intent: Actor need not intend results / injury. If actor knows that consequences are “certain or subst. certain to result from his act,” he is treated as if he had desired to produce the result (RST 8A). (Bazley v. Tortorich (10) – Intent Defined)
a)     Motive not related to intent; conduct is key.
b)     Transferred Intent:
(1)    D intends A tort against A person but 1) commits diff tort against that person, 2) commits intended tort against diff person, or 3) commits diff tort against diff person.
(2)    Only applies to Assault, Battery, FI, Trespass to Chattel / Land. (Hall v. McBryde (18) – Transferred Intent)
3.     Causation: D liable when his act or motions set in action by his act legally causes (Is a subst. factor of) the result. The results NEED NOT be foreseeable.
C.     Battery
1.     1) harmful or offensive (not permitted) contact with 2) plaintiff’s person
2.     A touching is “harmful” if it injures, disfigures, impairs, or causes pain to any bodily organ or function
3.     A touching is “offensive” if it would offend a reasonable person’s sense of personal dignity
4.      P’s hypersensitive reaction is insuff. unless D knows of it (RST 13)
5.     P need not have knowledge of battery at the time (RST 19)
6.     Brzoska v. Olson (11) – Actual Exposure Test; Vosburg v. Putney (12) – Circumstances; McGuire v. Almy (13) – Intent / Insane D; Janelsins v. Button (14) – Intent / Drunk D; Kiley v. Patterson (15) – Intent / Sports
D.     Assault
1.     1) apprehension of 2) immed. battery
2.     Words alone are not suff., though they may undo the apprehension.
3.     Apprehension
a)     Must be aware of at time (RST 22); battery not need be aware
b)     Immed. battery must be to person; threats to home or property insuff. (RST26); threats may be suff for IIED
c)     Rattlesnake rule: Apprehension need not be of D himself (RST 25)
d)     D’s words may negate immed. threat: I’d kill you if you weren’t my boyfriend; I’m gonna kill you in 24 hours (RST 29). Distinguish IIED: threats of future harm may be suff. for IIED. If D not privileged to make condition, still a threat of immin. harm.
e)     Fear not req’d; P need only apprehend a touching. Matters not that P can and knows she is able to escape or prevent threatened touching
f)      Super sensitive plaintiff rule does not apply to assault. (RST 27)
4.     Castiglione v. Galpin (16) Words coupled – Succeeded; Hall v. McBryde (18) – Intent / Apprehension; Holcombe v. Whitaker (17) – Conditioned Threat – Succeeded
E.     False Imprisonment/False Arrest
1.     FI: need 1) suff. act of restraint within 2) a bounded area
a)     Words alone may be suff.: threats of physical force, without any accompanying physical movement
b)     Inaction may be suff.: D’s obligation to release not fulfilled (RST 45) (halfway across the ocean)
c)     Confinement
(1)    Specific area must be bounded in all directions with no reasonable means of escape
(2)    However, P has no duty to search for a reasonable means of escape or hurt herself or her property trying to escape (RST 36). Something unlawful IS NOT reasonable.
(3)    Present Awareness:  P must know of confinement or be harmed by it (RST 42). However. most courts don’t follow the “harm alone is suff.” exception.  For assault, PA is req’d; for battery, PA is not req’d.
(4)    Phys force against family suff.
(5)    P’s submission to phys force immaterial (RST 39)
(6)    Submission to threats of immin. phys harm to P or P family suff.
(a)    Future harm insuff. (RST40)
(b)   Property harm possibly suff.
d)     Dupler v. Seubert (19) – Words Alone – Succeeded; Fischer v. Famous-Barr Co. (20) – Minimal Act – Succeeded
2.     FA: D’s impermissible assertion of legal authority and submission thereto by P
a)     FA is FI by a law enforcement officer
(1)    Probable cause and/or actual guilt are defenses to false arrest
(2)    However, other torts may be committed when the method of arrest is unreasonable (Rodney King)
(3)    Citizen Arrest only okay when tort occurs or is about to occur in presence (RST 119)
b)     Wright v. State (21) – FA is matter of law – failed; Enright v. Groves (22) – Classic FA – Succeeded
F.     IIED
1.     1) outrageous conduct that 2) causes damages
2.     Act
a)     Words alone may be a suff. act
b)     Conduct must exceed “all bounds of decent behavior”; there is no redress for petty insults, annoyances, or indignities (RST 46D). Special relationships—common carriers, superiors: offensive or insulting language suff. Liable for gross insults that would otherwise not be actionable.
c)     D liable for IIED against members of P’s family that are present at time of conduct, if D knew they were there. (THIS IS NOT TRANSFERRED INTENT)
3.     Conduct
a)     D must have intended to cause severe emotional distress or mental anguish to P (reckless conduct will also suffice)
b)     Super sensitive plaintiff applies: old and pregnant and D knows, too.
c)     If bodily harm or property damage intended to P but did not succeed, D is not liable for unintended and unexpected ED.
4.     Distinguish assault: injury must occur here; apprehension suff. in assault; no damages req’d for battery or FI
5.     Causation:
a)     Early view: D’s act had to cause severe emotional disturbance in P, that caused demonstrable physical injuries (assure against fraudulent claims)
b)     Modern approach: recovery is allowed even if P suffered no demonstrable physical injuries (outrageous nature is more reliable indication of damage)
6.     “Outrageousness” is a fact question in each case
7.     White v. Monsanto Co. (23) – Mere Insult Insuff.; Gomez v. Hug (24) – By Superior / Impact and Length of Outburst – Succeeded; Croft v. Wicker (25) – Actions Alone / Not in Presence – Succeeded
G.     Trespass to Chattel / Conversion
1.     1) act by D that 2) causes dispossession or damage (intermeddling) to P’s property.
2.     Dispossession – conduct amounting to the D’s assertion of a proprietary interest in the chattel over the interests of the rightful owner (D takes stuff). (RST 217)
a)     Ex: Theft, destruction, barring owner’s rightful access
3.     Intermeddling – does not challenge the rightful owner’s interest in the chattel (D fucks w/ stuff). (RST 217)
a)     Ex: throwing a stone, beating another’s animal, stampeding another’s herd of cattle
4.     Conversion: the below elevate the trespass to conversion
a)     Serious dispossession: D takes without consent, bars access to the chattel or obtains by fraud
b)     Destruction or material alteration
(1)    Unauthorized use by bailee: if as bailee, D uses chattel in manner that is material breach of authority, even is accidental
c)     Buying, receiving, selling, or disposing of stolen property: even if acts in good faith (RST 229)
d)     Misdelivering chattel: even if acts in good faith
e)     Refusal of surrender when demanded
5.     Conversion Test (222A):
a)     Extent and duration of actor’s exercise
b)     Actor’s intent to assert a right to the chattel
c)     actor’s good faith
d)     extent and duration of the resulting interference to orig. possess. right to control
e)     harm done to the chattel
f)      Inconvenience and expense caused to the other
6.     Documents can be converted (RST 224)
H.     Trespass, Nuisance, and Invasion of Privacy
1.     Trespass: physical invasion of another’s land
a)     D need not realize that the land belongs to another
b)     Reckless, abnormal activity makes one liable (RST 165)
c)     May be above, beneath or below land (RST159)
d)     Liable for phys harm to P, his land, his property, and his family (RST 162)
e)     Intrusion upon land: D’

ther, unless actor knows or has reason to know that other wants no help
b)      Actor is responsible harm to owner or owner’s land or chattel cause by his entry for his or a 3rd’s benefit unless owner’s contrib. negl. or tortious conduct prompted the entry (RST 197)
c)     Vincent v. Lake Erie Transportation Co. (34) – Defense Failed
E.     Justification: Privilege of discipline
a)      Parent may apply subjective / objective reasonable force or impose subjective / objective reasonable confinement upon his child for child’s proper control, training, or education
b)      One empowered by parent to care for child may use force or confinement as in a) unless parent has placed restriction; Sindle v. New York City Transit Authority (35) – Defense Succeeded
III.   Standard of Care
A.     Standard of care
1.     the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care.
B.     Ways to define SOC
1.     Characteristics of defendant (minors, MH, doctors, shrinks), examination of risks and utilities, legislation, res ipsa loquitor,
C.     Foreseeability
1.     …of an unreasonable risk of harm; the unreasonable running of a foreseeable risk is negl.
2.     Factors in determining whether a risk is unreasonable (Prosser and Keaton, p408):
a)     Foreseeable probability of injury
b)     Magnitude of potential injury
c)     Importance / social value of D’s activity
d)     Usefulness of activity to D
e)     Feasibility / safety / costs / burdens / usefulness of D’s alternatives
D.     Actor is liable for an invasion of an interest of another if
1.     the interest is protected against
2.     the conduct of the actor is negl. with respect to the other
3.     the actor’s conduct is a legal cause of the invasion
4.     the other has not so conducted himself as to disable himself from bringing an action for such invasion (RST 281)
E.     Particular Characteristics of Defendant
1.     Minors held to standard of reasonably prudent child of like age, experience, and intelligence (subjective) , unless engaged in adult activity or using dangerous instruments; Robinson v. Lindsay (36) – Adult Activity
2.     Physically disabled held to standard of reasonable person under like disability
3.     Mentally disabled are held to standard of reasonable person under like circumstances; Creasy v. Rusk (38); Where’s our list of MH PP reasons?
4.     Common carriers: held to higher standard of care (enterprises in the public interest)
5.     Bodin v. City of Stanwood (39) – SOC for a city / municipality is defined as reasonable person standard
F.     Industry and Professional Practices
1.     Custom and practice, of the community in general, or of other persons under like circumstances, are relevant but not conclusive evidence for SOC. They are  not defenses to charge of negl., merely material considerations. (295A)
2.     The TJ Hooper (40) – Ct may find Industry’s Custom Insuff.; Ray v. American National Red Cross (41) – Reasonably Prudent Professional; Vuono v. New York Blood Center, Inc. (42) – Conduct req’d in Hi-risk Situations
G.     Risks and Utilities: diff ways to examine
1.     Vuono v. New York Blood Center, Inc. (42) – Conduct req’d in Hi-risk Situations
2.     Learned Hand Formula: B