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University of Illinois School of Law
Hurd, Heidi M.


I. Intentional Torts

A. Prima Facie (PF) Case / Defenses / Responses

Prima Facie Case
1.      Voluntary Tortious Act (actus reus)
2.      Wrongful Intention (mens rea)
3.      Harmful Consequences (Damages)
4.      Causation

If such criteria are not met—Motion to dismiss
If there are all facts but can’t prove one or more of them—Summary Judgment (court sustain the motion)
If goes to trial but no reasonable jury could find anything—Directed Verdict
If the plaintiff succeeds in proving these claims—Defendant may have some defenses

Prima Facie CaseàDefenses (by Δ) àReponses (by π)

B. 8 Consequences of intentional tort liability (v. negligence liability)
Contributory negligence not a defense 
Didn’t take better case of himself. Still some intent.
If π sued Δ for negligence, Δ can rebut with contributory negligence. 
Punitive damages are available! 
Designed to punish the Δ for egregious behavior—more than compensate. 
Use civil law to the ends of criminal law.
Nominal Damage
You have to show contact, court will assume nominal damages 
Not dischargeable in bankruptcy
Emotional Distress
Some harms are only compensable when they are intentional. 
If there is an intent to harm.
Degree of causation is less
In negligence, is more difficult to have causation
IT contemplates/tolerates remote causation
Shorter Statute of Limitations
Youths may not be mature enough to be negligent. Sliding scale of reasonableness. Can’t hold children to the same standards in negligence.

C. The Elements of the Prima Facie Case for an Intentional Tort: The Example of Battery

Prima Facie Case for Battery

1.      Intend a harmful contact
2.      Intend the contact, but not its harmfulness
3.      Intend an act that causes a contact that is harmful or offensive.
I(Act)àH/O Contact

Explanation for 1
·        1 is not a requirement for mens rea of battery
Explanation for 2
·        Vosburg v. Putneyà2 intended no harm. This governs mens rea for battery. 
We all think 1 is battery. But this trial is different because of 2. 
·        Acts are not all intentional. 
Ownership is transitive: a=b, b=c, a=c 
Intentions are not. Hit someone else, tort. 
·        So is 1 and 2 the same? Actus rea succeeds, but mens rea. 
·        Why would liability be bounded by his anticipation? It’s enough to intend to contact. 
Vosburg Court: 1 would be a disaster for mens rea for battery. You don’t have to intend harm to be liable for being an intentional harm doer. You don’t have to intend offense to be liable for offensive battery. 
Explanation for 3
·        3 is much less strict, cast the net further
·        Loose causal chain more looseàGarrett v. Dailey (p7)
·        But Garrett is more about what it means to intend.
·        Then there would be no difference between intentional torts and negligence. Behind all negligent actions are voluntary intentions. Everything would be battery.  
àSo can’t go with rule 3. It’s too broad, it’s so broad, it will eat up all of negligence. Obsurd. Court doesn’t even try to spend time on this argument.