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University of Dayton School of Law
Conte, Francis J.




Trespass to Person, Land and Chattles

Vosburg v. Putney

· Intent to act, not necessarily to harm.
· Implied license: you have consented to the nature of the situation (i.e. playground).

Transferred Intent:
· If I throw a rock at A and hit B, you intended to hit A and meet the requirement of causation and/or harm, you will be held liable for battery under the theory of transferred intent.
· i.e. – Putney would have accidentally kicked Sarah instead of Vosburg.

Defenses to Intentional Torts

a. Consensual Defenses

Mohr v. Williams
· Emergency surgery on patient’s ear
· There was no expressed consent.
· Implied consent: emergency situation; threat to health/life and need must be immediate.

b. Insanity

McGuire v. Almy
· Nurse brings suit for assault and battery against her charge who threatened to kill her and hit her w/ the leg of a chair.
· Insanity is generally not a defense to an intentional tort, unless the person is not capable of entertaining the intent to complete the intent to complete the voluntary act, such is the case here.

c. Self-defense

Courvoisier v. Raymond
· Self-defense may be available if, in the surrounding circumstances, a reasonable person would find it necessary to use force.
· Must have all the facts to properly assess the situation. Can’t just walk into a situation w/o the facts and act. Important when the person acting in self-defense is the rescuer.
· Must only use reasonable/proportionate force.
· May even be used against an innocent plaintiff as in this situation.

· Vicious statements and personal insults do NO

If you are attacked in the street with non-deadly force, then you can only defend yourself with non-deadly force. However, if an intruder breaks into your home, you CAN use deadly force.

Necessity Doctrine:
· You can not use immediate, deadly force at all unless it is necessary to protect/save your life or another’s life.
We can keep other people out of our property. But a person may trespass or even interfere with another person’s personal property where that person is unable in safety to control his or her proper movement. If you are seeking to moor your boat, you can bring a claim against a property owner who unmoors the boat if there is necessity to moor the boat. See Ploof v. Putnam below.