Select Page

University of Illinois School of Law
Hurt, A. Christine

I. Intentional Torts
A. Intent
1. No intent to harm: The intentional torts generally are not defined in such a way as to require D to have intended to harm the plaintiff.
2. Substantial certainty: If D knows with substantial certainty that a particular effect will occur as a result of her action, she is deemed to have intended that result.
3. High likelihood: But if it is merely “highly likely,” not “substantially certain,” that the bad consequences will occur, then the act is not an intentional tort. “Recklessness” by D is not enough.
4. Act distinguished from consequences
a) The act/contact must be intentional or substantially certain, but the consequences need not be.
(1) Villa v. Derouen
(a) To be battery, D only needed to intend that the oxygen he sprayed would come in contact w/ P; or that he knew that it would be substantially certain that it would occur
(b) The harmful or offensive contact and not the resulting injury is the physical result that must be intended
5. Transferred intent: Under the doctrine of “transferred intent,” if D held the necessary intent with respect to person A, he will be held to have committed an intentional tort against any other person who happens to be injured
B. Battery
1. Elements
a) A person
b) Intends to cause and does a
c) Contact that is
d) Harmful/offensive
e) To another person
1. Intent
f) It is not necessary that D desires to physically harm P. D has the necessary intent for battery if it is the case either that: (1) D intended to cause a harmful or offensive bodily contact; or (2) D intended to cause an imminent apprehension on P’s part of a harmful or offensive bodily contact.
2. Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Comm, Inc
a) Offensive conduct is contact offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity; consider context
b) Offensive–disagreeable or nauseating or painful because of outrage to taste and sensibilities or affronting insultingness
3. White v. Muniz
a) Majority rule: D must appreciate the offensiveness of her conduct in order to be liable
b) Minority rule: need a voluntary contact, which then was harmful or offensive (broader)
5. Aliff v. Mar-Bal, Inc
a) To show intent for the purpose of proving an intentional tort against an employer, must how
(1) Knowledge of existence of the danger
(2) Knowledge that if employee is subjected to the danger, the harm to the employee will be substantially certain to occur (not just a high risk)
(3) Employer required the employee to continue working w/ danger despite knowledge
6. P does not have to be aware for there to be a battery; transferred intent
C. Assault
1. Definition: Assault is the intentional causing of an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact.
2. Elements
a) A person
b) Intends to cause and does
c) A Reasonable apprehension of
d) An imminent
e) Physical harm
3. Intent to create apprehension: First, D intends to put P in imminent apprehension of the harmful or offensive con

justification to detain the other in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time to investigate
2. “Confinement”: The idea of confinement is that P is held within certain limits, not that she is prevented from entering certain places.
a) Example: D refuses to allow P to return to her own home. This is not false imprisonment – P can go anywhere else, so she has not been “confined.”
3. Means used: The imprisonment may be carried out by direct physical means, but also by threats or by the assertion of legal authority.
a) Threats: Thus if D threatens to use force if P tries to escape, the requisite confinement exists.
b) Assertion of legal authority: Also, confinement may be caused by D’s assertion that he has legal authority to confine P – this is true even if D does not in fact have the legal authority, so long as P reasonably believed that D does, or is in doubt about whether D does.
4. P must know of confinement: P must either be aware of the confinement, or must suffer some actual harm. (Example: P is locked in her hotel room by D, but P is asleep for the entire three-hour period, and learns only later that the door was locked. This is probably not false imprisonment.)