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Temple University School of Law
Burris, Scott

Intentional Torts
General outline:
Policy Issues:
Social purposes a tort system could serve
Possible bases for imposing liability on someone who causes harm to another
How the Tort litigation process works in the United States.
Blackletter issues:
Meaning of “intent” in torts
Elements of battery
Concept of transferred intent
Elements of assault
Relationship between assault and battery
Doctrine of respondeat superior
Elements of False imprisonment, and that torts relationship to false arrest and malicious prosecution
Tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress
Concept of statutory government immunity
Distinction between a defense and a privilege
Elements and application of the defense of consent
Battery and consent in health care
Elements and application of the defense of self-defense
Tort of trespass
Limits on the defense of property
Defenses of private and public necessity
Interplay between intentional and negligent tort claims in litigation
Intentional Torts
False Imprisonment
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
General Policy Issues
Social Purposes a tort system serves:
Allows private parties to obtain monitary compensation from those who have caused them injury/damage. A civil wrong not arising from a contract (breach of contract)
Bases for imposing liability/what do torts accomplish:
A.    Corrective Justice/Civil Redress.
-When A wrongs B, correcting the wrong preserves balance
B.     Optimal Deterrence
-Deters risky activity
C.     Loss Distribution
-broadly distributing loss, like insurance, only society bears costs.
D.    Compensation
-providing compensation to victims of civil wrongs.
E.     Redress of social grievances
-promotes the redress of social grievances against large impersonal institutions.
How torts work in the United States (Conceptually)
            -Think of it as a pyramid.
Very large base, becomes increasingly difficult to advance- barriers of recognition, confrontation, and litigation. In many ways relates to judges attempting to have a positive impact. Ultimately, the purposes of torts are problematic.
Blackletter Issues in Intentional Torts
The meaning of intent- what does the intent in intentional torts really mean?
-The key question is, what was A thinking when he acted causing B’s harm. accordingly intent must be inferred from behavior.
Intent=harmful or offensive contect w/o consent (which A knows with substantial certainty will cause harm)
Elements in battery
            -Harmful or offensive contact with another, resulting from an intention to cause                 that contact, or from an intention to put another in apprehension that a harmful or  offensive contact is imminent. (book def)
            -basically- intent and contact that was intended/known to be harmful and  offensive.
            Battery= harmful or offensive contact + intent to harm
Transferred intent
            -the individual who suffers the contact need not be the person intended.
Elements of Assault
Imminent threat of contact (not actual physical contact)
An act intended to cause harmful contact or an imminent apprehension of contact that puts plaintiff in apprehension of imminent contact.
Assault turns on how immediate the actual threat is. Imminent- means immediate in terms of time, and the threat must be actual rather than potential.
§21 restatement of torts.
The relationship between assault and battery
·         Battery- harm caused by actual contact.
·         Assault- imminent threat of contact.
·         In the broadest sense- virtually every battery is an assault, the converse is not true.
Respondeat superior-
When an employer is responsible/liable for the conduct of their employee. See Fisher v. Carrousel motor house.
Elements of False Imprisonment; relationship with false arrest and malicious prosecution
            False Imprisonment=
Restriction of the plaintiff’s movement, not ha

tandard- once again consent is about autonomy.
Basic issue:
            Wrongs in which the D breaches the boundary of or touches the plaintiffs real or  personal property, or otherwise interferes w/ P’s right of possession.
We see transition into the world of negligence here.
Defenses of Private and Public Necessity
Private Necessity- risk to one party or his property only, and this party can reduce or eliminate that risk by damaging or destroying someone else property.
Public Necessity
When there is risk to the property of a sufficiently large number of people to make the risk “public” and that risk can be reduced or eliminated by damaging or destroying property of Plaintiff.
Coase and Calabrasi
Coase Theorem. Tortuous decisions decided upon economic grounds. i.e. the most productive use of a resource. Society is better off with floating boats then chewed up docks. In the absence of transaction costs- liability does not really matter.
            -in a market without transaction costs, parties will work out the most
efficient allocation of risk and resources regardless of liability
Calabrasi- if coase is right you can restore what tort system does- use to place liability rules to encourage efficient outcomes.
            -If you can put liability on party that can best reduce risk of accidents.
General Outline
Policy Issues
Origins and development of liability based on negligence
The elements of action in trespass and case
Current Empirical evidence on the operation of the negligence system
The historical roots of the fault principal in U.S. law