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Torts II
University of Mississippi School of Law
Percy, E. Farish

TORTS II OUTLINE – Spring 2011 Professor Percy
Intentional torts
                                                               i.      Intent – What type of intent is required?
1.       conduct has to be voluntary
2.       D must have intent
a.       Specific intent to cause contact
b.       Knowing with substantial certainty that such contact will result – subjective standard
                                                                                                                                       i.      Distinguish from negligence, where the test is foreseeable risk
                                                              ii.      Mistake – generally does not negate intent. Is mistake as to the person’s identity or the ownership of ppty an excuse or defensee?
1.       person killing dog believed to be a wolf can be liable
2.       sheep herder who slaughters another’s sheep after taking all reasonable precautions may be held liable
3.       person who is on ppty he believes to be his but which really belongs to another is trespassing
                                                            iii.      Insanity – General rule: as long as P can prove that D could form an intent, whether specific or acting with knowledge with substantial certainty, D is held liable.
1.       Policy
a.       for holding an insane person liable:
                                                                                                                                       i.      make persons who take care of the insane person to take better care
                                                                                                                                      ii.      as b/w innocent P and D, D at fault should pay
                                                                                                                                    iii.      D may be wealthy, so it would be unfair to make P bear the burden of his injuries
                                                                                                                                    iv.      Hard to differentiate different degrees of mental capacity
b.       against holding an insane person liable:
                                                                                                                                       i.      if liability based on fault, unfair to hold an insane person liable if that person is incapable of forming an intent
2.       Defenses? Implied consent: some states adopted statutes, relieving institutionalized mental patients from liability if they hurt hospital personnel Children and people with mental illness
                                                            iv.      Diminished capacity – Can a D with diminished mental capacity be held liable for an intentional tort?
1.       Yes, if P proves the requisite intent. It is irrelevant that D’s intent may have resulted form a mental condition (e.g. schizophrenic D who intends to hit the P is liable even if the schezophrenia is what caused the D to have such intent)
                                                             v.      Children – can a child be held liable for an intentional tort?
1.       Yes, but cts have said that really young children (2 years) can’t be liable
                                                            vi.      Transferred intent – if D intends one tort, but commits another, P may take advantage of the doctrine
1.       the doctrine can be applied to
a.       same tort, different V
b.       different tort, same V
c.        different tort, different V
2.       generally, the doctrine applies only of the intended tort and the resulting tort were
a.       battery
b.       assault
c.        false imprisonment
d.       trespass to land or trespass to chattel
3.       limitation – generally not intentional infliction of emotional distress
                                                          vii.      Vicarious liability? It is difficult to hold employer vicariously liable for an intentional tort, but not impossible. Need to prove employee was acting in the scope of employment.
Torts involving personal injury
                                                               i.      Battery –
1.       Elements:  P must prove:
a.       D committed a voluntary act with the
b.       Intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact with another OR intent to cause imminent apprehension of such contact
c.        which results in harmful or offensive contact
2.       What type of contact is sufficient?
a.       contact b/w D and P (e.g. D hits P, D trips P)
b.       Contact b/w D and extension of P’s body (e.g. pulling coat lapels, knocking off hat, grabbing plate)
c.        Contact b/w an object and P caused by D (D throws a rick at P, D shoots P, D puts drug in P’s glass, D sets trip wire for P, D throws bucket of cold water on P, D runs over P)
d.       Contact b/w a third person and P caused by D (D pushes third person into P)
3.       What type of contact is offensive?
a.       contact that would be offensive to a RP
b.       contact that D knows is offensive to P (the hyposensitive P cannot recover unless D knew about it)
4.       What about unforeseen consequence? If D had intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact, then liable for all the consequences, even if they are unforeseen
a.       Examples:
                                                                                                                                       i.      A trips B. B suffer a bizarre fall sideways, falls down a flight of stairs and is seriously injured.
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Child kicks friend in the shin and friend has strange blood condition which gets infected and causes serious injury (eggshell skull)
5.       Other issues
a.       what if D was acting in good faith?
                                                                                                                                       i.      E.g. girl hurt arm at skating rink and D attempted to set her arm over her objection
                                                                                                                                      ii.      D is still liable
b.       What if D is unaware of the contact?
                                                                                                                                       i.      E.g. Sleeping Beauty, patient under anesthesia
                                                                                                                                      ii.      D is liable
c.        Does P have to prove actual damages?
                                                                                                                                       i.      No. P may recover nominal, actual and punitive damages (including damages for emotional distress)
6.       Spivey v. Battaglia
a.       P and D worked together.  During the lunch hour, D, in an attempt to tease P, put his arm around P and puller her toward him.  As a result, the left side of P’s face was paralyzed.  P sued d for negligence, assault and battery.
                                                                                                                                       i.      D claimed it was intentional tort and that SOL had run.
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Florida Sup. Ct.: The claim sounds in negligence because D didn’t intend to harm P and could not have believed that the bizarre results were substantially certain to follow.
7.       Negligence v. Battery
a.       SOL usually longer for negligence
b.       Insurance doesn’t cover intentional torts
c.        Harder to hold employer vicariously liable for intentional tort
d.       Punitive damages available for intentional torts
e.        Proximate cause requirement for intentional tort is not as stringent
f.        Government hasn’t waived immunity from intentional torts of its employees
g.        Contributory negligence not a defense to intentional torts
h.       Employ

ain if they have reasonable suspicion of thievery.
                                                           iv.      Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – IIED – conduct must exceed all bounds which could be tolerated by society (outrageous) – c/l.
1.       Elements – Rest. –
                                                                                                                                       i.      conduct must be intentional or reckless (purpose of causing distress or knowledge that distress is substantially certain).
                                                                                                                                      ii.      conduct has to be extreme or outrageous
1.       go beyond all bounds of decency in a civilized community)
2.       personality of P is a factor
                                                                                                                                   iii.      conduct must cause emotional distress
                                                                                                                                   iv.      emotional distress must be severe (also all jur-s)
2.       Proof:
a.       Some jur – expert testimony
b.       Majority – do not generally require expert – rely on factors, such as outrageousness of D’s conduct, testimony, physical symptoms.
3.       Allocation:
a.       Ct – decides whether conduct reasonably outrageous
b.       Jury – so outrageous that results in liability
4.       Policy
a.       For:
                                                                                                                                       i.      State interest in emotional and mental tranquility of its citizens
                                                                                                                                      ii.      No social utility
                                                                                                                                    iii.      No need to protect D from liability
b.       Against:
                                                                                                                                       i.      Flood of litigation
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Requirement that that there is physical injury will ensure that serious mental suffering occurred
5.       Recovery for IIED where conduct is aimed 3rd party:
a.       Majority – require that D’s conduct was directed toward P, or take place in the presence of P, with D’s awareness
b.       Minority – allow recovery even though P was not present
c.        Rest. – D is subject to liability if he intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to
                                                                                                                                       i.      a member of family who is present at the time (regardless of whether there is any physical injury)
                                                                                                                                      ii.      any other person who is present and whose distress results in bodily harm