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University of Illinois School of Law
Robbennolt, Jennifer K.

Torts Outline 2015 fall — Professor Robbennolt

Intentional Torts

Answer a question

(1) Plaintiff’s prima facie case

§ P bears burden of proof on each element

§ If D can negate one of the elements, talk about it here:

o Conduct

o Intent

o Causation

o Harm required for tort

§ Of the privileges, only CONSENT should be talked about during the PF case

(2) Privileges / Affirmative Defenses

§ D bears the burden of proof

(3) Conclusion

Intentional torts: battery; assault; false imprisonment; trespass to land; trespass to goods; conversion; IIED

Defense: consent; self-defense; defense of others; defense/ recovery of property; necessity; legal authority; disciplining children; justification


Rule: Desire to cause the consequences of the conduct OR belief that the consequences are substantially certain to result from it

Jurisdiction split of Contact:

Restatement 2nd: Harmful/ offensive act

Idaho: just contact, no need to intend to harmful or offensive

Restatement 3rd: more like Idaho, just contact, but with restriction of no-agree


Defendant would take all liability to all consequences of the act (egg shell plaintiff)

There is no insanity defense on torts, just in criminal.

If contact is not towards person, there is no intent.

Good faith mistake is not a defense of intent

The P’s negligence is not a defense of D

Transferred intent:

• Battery

• Assault

• (False Imprisonment) –less happen

• [Trespass to Land] –unlikely

• [Trespass to Chattels]—unlikely

(Emotional distress is different from battery/assault, would not be transferred.)

Subjective test:

§ Battery: harmful or offensive contact

§ D intended to contact P + something else

§ D intended to contact P + D intended harmful/offensive contact

§ Assault: imminent apprehension of harmful or offensive contact

§ False Imprisonment: confinement of another against his/her will

§ IIED: severe emotional distress

§ NOTE: intent can be recklessness (conscious disregard of a high degree of risk)

§ Trespass to Land: be where you are or have thing you are controlling be where it is

§ Trespass to Goods: to act on the goods

§ Conversion: to exercise control over the goods (treat them as if were your own)

u Is there a different rule for children or adults of diminished capacity? NO.

Intentional torts types

1. Battery


P engaged in (1) Conduct (2) Intentionally (desire or belief with substantially certain) (3) Causing (directly or indirectly) (4) Harmful or Offensive contact with the person of another


(1) Harmful Contact: Any physical impairment of a condition of another’s body (structure or function is altered to any extent even if it causes no harm) or physical pain or illness

(2) Offensive Contact: Offends a reasonable (objective) sense of personal dignity

(Plaintiff does not have to be contemporaneously aware of contact.)

(3) Eggshell Plaintiff: Take your plaintiff as you find them.

(4) Fear of contracting disease from contact & Battery: Majority (Brzoska): no recovery unless actual exposure to diseases; Minority: recovery even absent actual exposure

2. Assault


(1) Conduct (2) Intentionally (same as battery+ An imminent apprehension of such a contact) (3) Causing (4) The P to reasonably apprehend (anticipate) imminent harmful or offensive contact with his or her person


(1) Threats of future contact are NOT enough

(2) What matters is the apparent, not actual, ability of D to contact a P

(3) Fear not required just have to reasonably believe D can make h/o contact with P

(4) Insulting/offensive words alone cannot constitute an assault absent some conduct to effectuate them (Hill)

3. False Imprisonment


(1) Conduct (2) Intentionally (desire or belief with substantial certainty) (3) Causing (direct or indirect) (4) The unlawful confinement of another against his or her will


(1) Confined within boundaries fixed by D, (2) against her will, (3) aware of the confinement when it’s happening (can’t find out after) OR harmed by it (split on if need both (restatement, minority) or either), (4) no lawful authority for confinement

a. Majority: awareness needs to happen at the time of imprisonment.

b. Minority and the Restatement: require either awareness at the time or injury

Confinement = P reasonably believes that she can’t leave has no REASONABLE way out a limited area due to something D has done

No duty to search for a means of escape or to run any risk of harm to her person or immediate family or property

Insufficient: threat of future harm; staying to clear suspicion; social situation, rudeness

Affirmative defense:

Shopkeeper privilege: reasonable belief (can be wrong); reasonable time; reasonable manner.

4. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)


Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: (1) Extreme and outrageous conduct (2) Intentionally or recklessly [conscious disregard of a high degree of risk]) (3) Causing (The plaintiff should be aware of the threat or potential harm at the time when the defendant carried out the conduct) (4) Severe emotional distress


If there

ractually obligated to do something

2. Self Defense

(1) Objective Test: One may use *reasonable force where one *reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect oneself from *imminent harm (include FI)

(2) May use non-deadly force when:

Reasonable apprehension of any bodily contact, even if make a mistake (Courvoisier)

Reasonable means used to avoid or prevent threatened contact

Generally no duty to retreat (give up right or privilege) or comply with any demand made by the person threatening force

(3) May use deadly force when:

Reasonable apprehension of death or serious harm

(4) Duty to retreat: Jurisdictional Split

Restatement & Minority Rule: have to retreat if defending w/ deadly force; if not in dwelling place; but ONLY if you can do it with complete safety, if at home stand your ground

Majority: No duty to retreat, get to stand your ground even w/ deadly force; still a rule that have to reasonably believe you need to use force and you use reasonable force that is proportionate to the threat

Intent of person being defended against is irrelevant (benevolent/joking/malice)

(5) Limitations on Self-Defense: 1) reasonable force—any excessive force is not privileged, 2) reasonable belief in need to protect, 3) danger can’t have terminated/no retaliation, 4) no use of self-defense against someone privileged to take an action (cop lawfully arresting)

(6) Initial aggressor claiming self-defense privilege: Jurisdictional Split

Some: can claim self-defense

Some: can’t claim self-defense unless there is a big enough time gap where there is a new incident or have communicated that has abandoned the attack

3. Defense of Others:

Privileged to the same extent that the one threatened by the 3rd person would be privileged to defend himself à (objective test): One may use reasonable force where one reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect oneself from imminent harm

[J] Mistake:

Some: no privilege if belief was mistaken, even if sincere and reasonable

Trend & Rest.: use same reasonable belief test as self-defense and allow privilege even if mistake