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Torts
University of Connecticut School of Law
Macgill, Hugh C.

1. Intentional Torts

a. Trespass on Person

Vosburg v. Putney (1891) (pg 4)
Facts: Vosburg kicked in the leg by Putney, susbsequently lost leg
Issue: Under preponderance of the evidence (50%) was there CONTACT
Holding: Yes
Reasoning: Doesn’t need to prove that the contact was FORESEEABLE, only need to prove it occurred
-While certain contexts there is an implied assumption of risk, this not one of them (if it had been in the schoolyard rather than classroom, maybe)

Garratt v. Dailey (1955) (pg 7) Unlawful Intent
Facts: Child moving chair from under elderly woman
Holding/Reasoning: Need to prove knowledge [i.e., did boy realize that woman would intend to sit where chair was?
If so, can be liable regardless of intentions (to injure, embarrass, etc), if not, not liable

Talmage v. Smith (1894) (g 10) Transferred Intent
Facts: P struck in the eye by stick meant to hit someone else
Holding/Reasoning: The fact that the D intended to injure someone enough to incur liability; even though didn’t injure intended target

Restatement Account of Battery of Intentions

13. Battery: Harmful Contact
An actor is subject to liability to another 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

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

b. Trespass on Property

Dougherty v. Stepp (1835) (pg. 10)
Facts: Surveyor entered land and claimed a piece as his own (didn’t cut down trees or mark bushes, etc.
Issue: Was this a trespass?
Holding/Reasoning: Yes. This was a trespass that “breaks the close” (trespass quare clausum fregit). ANY trespass on property causes damage, even if it is just the damage to grass treaded on.

i. Traditional Forms of Trespass on Real Property
Smith v. Smith (1872) (pg 11)
– Is trespass above the land trespass? Yes
o –D found to have committed trespass because eves of barn overhung P’s prop
Nieswonger v. Goodyear Tire (1929) “
– Airplane overflight within 500 ft. of ground (in violation of air control rules) also a trespass

ii. Intention and Damages in Trespass on Real Property
Brown v. Dellinger (1962) (pg. 12)
-Act of lighting an unauthorized fire enough for liability, even if they didn’t intend for it to leave the grill
-must be held civilly liable for consequences that directly flowed form their unauthorized action
Cleveland Park Club v. Perry (1960) (pg. 12)
-Boy caused injury by putting ball in drain of pool
-In trespass cases, it is the intent to complete the physical act, not the intent to cause the injurious consequences that is to be considered

iii. Intangible Trespass
Public Service Co. of Colorado v. Van Wyk (2001)
– P sued Pub. Service for trespass due to “noise, radiation and electromagnetic fields” resulting from ungrades
– Need to prove physical damages to property to uphold trespass claim for intangible trespass

iv, Trespass to Chattels at Common Law

Restatement 218 (pg. 13)
-Different from property in that can’t recover for “harmless intermeddlings”
-Must prove some harm to the chattels to recover
– Has privelege of use of reasonable force to protect against even harmless interferences
-Child pulling dogs ear example à if no harm to dog, no liability
Blondell v. Consolidated Gas Co (1908) (pg 14)
-Gas Co. customers attaching governors to gas meters. Trespass even though no damage? If on P’s property, yes.

Intel v. Hamidi (2003) (pg 14) Internet Trespass?
Facts: Hamidi, a disgruntled ex-employee, repeatedly e-mailed Intel staff
I

D still liable for conversion.

d. Defenses for Intentional Torts

Mohr v. Williams (1905) (pg 35)
-Patient had diseased right ear and consented to surgery. Upon going under the Dr. realized the left ear was actually worse off and instead operated on that ear. Dr. had no authority to perform sugery as there was no consent, express or implied [OVERRULED ACCORDING TO KEYCITE]

i. Scope of Consent
Kennedy v. Parrott (1956)(pg 37)
-During appendectomy surgery, Dr. discovered large cyst on P’s ovary which he intentionally punctured w/out negligence. She subsequently developed phlebitis in her leg, sued under trespass
-Denied her action because, even though she didn’t consent, surgeons in modern hospital setting couldn’t depend on family members.
Hoofnel v. Segal (2006) (pg. 38)
– Verbally stated didn’t want “any of her female organs removed” but later signed a consent saying organs could be removed if necessary. Court found the “clear and unambiguous” terms of the consent form dominated earlier agreement

ii. Consent Implied in Fact
O’Brien v. Cunard Steamship Co.(1891) (pg. 38)
-Immigrant who held out arm for vaccination implied consent and thus barred action [even though non-acceptance would lead to detainment & quarantine]

iii. Emergency Rule
Schloendorff v. Society of N.Y. Hospital (1914)(p.40)
– Presumption that surgeon needs consent true “except in cases of emergency where the patient is unconscious and where it is necessary to operate before consent can be obtained”
Allore v. Flower Hospital (1997) (pg 40)