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University of Dayton School of Law
Conte, Francis J.

Torts I Outline
Fall 2007
University of Dayton, Professor Francis Conte
Casebook: “Cases and Materials on Torts” Richard A. Epstein, Eighth Edition

This outline was created using the assigned cases from the above casebook; the Torts section of the Barbri Bar Review “First Year Review” book; the “Legalines” Torts book keyed to that specific casebook is the source of all the case summaries below; everything in the Cambriatypeface is from Professor Conte’s review lectures; and finally, everything in the Courier New typeface is from notes taken during class.

Hyperlinked Table of Contents:
I. Intentionally Inflicted Harm: The Prima Facie Case and Defenses
II. Strict Liability and Negligence: Historic and Analytic Foundations
III. The Negligence Issue
IV. Plaintiff’s Conduct
V. Multiple Defendants; Joint, Several, and Vicarious Liability
VI. Causation
VII. Affirmative Duties

I. Intentionally Inflicted Harm: The Prima Facie Case and Defenses
A. Introduction
B. Physical Harms
To establish a prima facie case for an intentional tort the Pl. must prove (1) Act by defendant (volitional movement on Def.’s part); (2) Intent (Specific Intent – An actor “intends” the consequences of his conduct if his goal in acting is to bring about these consequences. General Intent – An actor “intends’ the consequences of his conduct if he knows with substantial certainty that these consequences will result. The intent that is relevant is the intent to bring about the consequences that are the basis of the tort, so a person may be liable even for an unintended injury. Transferred Intent applies (see below); and (3) Causation, where the conduct of Def. is a substantial factor in bringing about the injury. (The result must have been caused by Def.’s act. Causation will be satisfied where the conduct of defendant is a substantial factor in bringing about the injury.)
1. Trespass to Person, Land, and Chattels
Intent –
Vosburg v. Putney (1891)(kid kicks/taps other kid in shin, leads to extensive damage)
In an action for battery, the Pl. does not have to prove that the Def. intended to cause the harm that resulted.
In action for assault & battery, Pl. need only show that Def. either committed an unlawful act or that Def. had an unlawful intention to commit the harm produced.
Since the kick didn’t occur in the normal course of play, Def. doesn’t have access to the implied license of the playground, which will excuse all injuries that are the result of boyish play.
Because the kick took place during regular school hours in the schoolroom the Def.’s actions were unlawful & the court will infer lawful intent.
Def. committed an assault & battery, and is liable for all damages that result from his unlawful conduct.
Comment: Intentional conduct is an act that a reasonable person in Def.’s position would know is substantially certain to lead to the damage of another’s legally protected interests. This case also states the well-settled proposition that the tortfe

. acted with malice.
With respect to damages from intentional torts where the Pl. is injured by Def., Def. is liable for damages for all injuries caused, foreseen or unforeseen. Where the Def.’s battery is slight, but un-consented to physical contact causes harm and causes great injury then Def. is liable for all injuries. If George missed Harry and instead kicked Wally by mistake, then where one intends harmful or offensive contact with another, but hits a 3d person, then under the doctrine of transferred intent the person is liable to the one harmed for all damages resulting from the contact.
The existence of Implied/Constructive Consent depend on the facts.
Battery elements: (1) Intent; (2) lack of consent; (3) a physical act that caused the harm.
Intentional physical contact without consent is battery.
Intent is more than just desire to harm. It includes situations where there’s a substantial chance that something bad will result.
Consent and “implied license” can be a defense to battery.
Doctrine of transferred intent – if you intend to do something wrong (e.g., physical contact) towards one person but if you mistakenly do it to another then you’re liable.
2. Defenses to Intentional Torts