INTRODUCTION TO TORTS
I. Goals of Torts
B. Corrective Justice
II. Burden of Proof
A. Prima Facie Case: plaintiff has burden of proof
B. Affirmative Defense: defendant has burden of proof
III. Intentional Torts: Conduct – Intentionally – Causing – Harm to Another
a. Act must be done for the purpose of causing the contact or apprehension; OR
b. With knowledge on the part of the actor that such contact or apprehension is
substantially certain to be produced
B. Transferred Intent Doctrine
a. Battery, Assault, False Imprisonment, Trespass to Land, Trespass to Chattels
b. Defendant intends to commit intentional tort against a particular person but instead:
i. Commits the intentional tort against a different person
ii. Commits a different intentional tort against that person
iii. Commits a different intentional tort against a different person
A. Conduct intentionally causing harmful or offensive contact with the person of another
a. Harmful: any physical impairment of the condition of another’s body, or physical pain,
or illness (impairment – structure or function of any part of the other’s body is altered to
any extent even though the alteration causes no other harm)
b. Offensive: offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity
B. The consequences of the battery do NOT have to be reasonably foreseeable
a. Intends contact, even if motive is to help or intends assault and contact results
b. Liable for all damages because you “take the victim as you find him”
c. Causation – set in motion force which ultimately brings about harmful/offensive contact
Case Name Facts Issue Holding Discussion
Garrat v. Dailey (1955)
5-yr-old Dailey pulled chair out from under Ruth Garrat in Garrat backyard.
Dailey understood what would happen when pulling out chair.
Subjective Test v. Objective Test
Talmage v. Smith (1894)
Defendant threw stick in direction of boys on shed. Hit plaintiff in the eye.
Transfer of intent
Intended to hit someone or substantially certain.
If no intent to hit, the result could be assault.
Brzoska v. Olson (1995)
Dr. Owens learned of his HIV in 1989 and died in 1991. No evidence of actual exposure to his patients.
Offensive conduct is tested by a reasonableness standard; fear w/o exposure is not reasonable.
To accept argument is to contribute to AIDS phobia. Objective test.
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel (1967)
Flynn snatched plate from Fisher at meeting. No touch. No fear of injury. Part of plaintiff’s person!
Physical contact not necessary; need contact w/ clothing or object closely identified w/ body
Battery without assault. Flynn acted within scope of employment.
A. Conduct intentionally causing the plaintiff to reasonably apprehend an imminent harmful
or offensive contact with his or her person AND the other is thereby put in such imminent
B. Unlike battery, must be aware to be put in apprehension, must believe it will occur
a. Causal connection between D’s act and P’s apprehension
b. Mere words – must be imminent; words can negate assault-like conduct as well, or make an ambiguous act assault (e.g. reaching into coat
b. Must be afraid/severe, no physical harm necessary (sometimes true for battery as well)
C. Policy: prevent future incidents, obvious wrong, should be able to recover for emotional
distress standing alone and not just when coupled with another intentional tort
a. 3rd person – present, related, D knew of P’s presence and was substantially certain
distress would result
Harris v. Jones (1977)
Jones mimicked for stutter. Doc gave pills. Marriage fails.
No recovery for ED
No evidence of severity. Humiliation is not enough.
Humiliation aggravated pre-existing nervousness.
V. Trespass to Land
A. Conduct intentionally causing unauthorized entry onto land in the possession of another or
knows with substantial certainty that conduct causing physical invasion will result
a. Intends to be where he is
b. Do NOT need actual damage to property, recovery for actual harm or nominal damage
c. Possession NOT ownership
d. Mistake is NOT a defense (unless reasonable)
B. Does NOT have to be entry of a person (air is part of property)
a. Set in motion physical invasion
Rogers v. Kent Board (1947)
License for snow fence in winter. Forgot to remove a post.
Trespass to Property
Failed to remove structure after consent terminated.
No gov’t immunity cuz no contributory negligence