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Torts II
University of North Dakota School of Law
Johnson, Eric A.

Johnson- Torts-Spring- 2012


FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT

Procedure
–      Specific damages must be claimed
Substance
–      If, under state law, private actor would have a duty in neg, then the US has such a duty for negligence purposes
–      The tort must have been committed by fed emp acting w/in scope of his/her employment
Exemptions, based on nature of the conduct (can’t sue for following)
–      Discretionary function or duty
–      Combatant actions of the military
–      Claims arising in a foreign country
Exemptions, based on the cause of action (can’t sue for following)
–      Assault, battery                                                         –  Misrepresentation, deceit
–      False imprisonment, false arrest                            –  Interference w/ contract rights
–      Malicious prosecution, abuse of process               –  Can’t use strict liability, must prove negligence


INTENTIONAL TORTS (see wypadki)

BATTERY
–      Harmful offensive touching
–      To P’s person
–      Intent
–      causation


ASSAULT
–      act
–      intent
–      causation
–      apprehension
–      immediacy – threats of assault insufficient

FALSE IMPRISONMENT
–      Intent – must desire to confine person (accidental confinement is under negligence)
–      Confinement

a.      Physical barrier, force, threats of force, omission – failure to act, invalid assertion of legal authority, duration of confinement is irrelevant, cannot be moral pressure or future threats

–      bounded area
b.      any reasonable means of escape negates bounded area –
i.      if escape is unreasonable (embarrassment or discomfort) à bounded area
ii.      reasonable means available but unknown à bounded area
–      awareness of harm
c.       person must be consciously aware of confinement
d.      if not consciously aware of confinement BUT harmed = satisfied

OUTRAGE (IIED)
–      act – extreme and outrageous (truly outrageous)
–      intent or recklessness
–      causation
–      damages


Issues –
–          eggshell plaintiff – does not apply to all unusually sensitive P to recover for act that would not cause emotional distress to a reasonable person
–          if D knows of sensitivity – cause of action allowed

TRESPASS TO LAND
–          intent, causation, physical invasion
TRESPASS TO CHATTELS
–          intent, act – interferes w/ P’s right of possession, causation, damages – actual required

CONVERSION
–          intent – knowledge/foresight to know actions will cause disuse of chattel
–          interference must deprive possessor of chattel infinitely
o   total displacement of chattel
o   cannot be restored to initial condition or used in state it is in
o   to implicate you cannot receive chattel back
o   monetary damages = remedy (NO specific performance)
–          personal property is anything tangible to a person
Distinguishing b/w Trespass to Chattels and Conversion

(1)   extent and duration of dominion or control
(2)   actor’s intent to assert right in fact inconsistent w/ other’s right of control
(3)   actor’s good faith
(4)   extent and duration of resulting interference w/ the other’s right to control
(5)   harm done to chattel
(6)   inconvenience and expense caused to other


DEFENSES
Contributory Negligence (minority) – P contributes to negligence – P cannot recover
Comparative Negligence (majority) – compare negligence of P to D (less, more or

rtion goes to state
OTHER REMEDIES (see wypadki)
Restitutionary Remedies  – rather than focusing on P’s suffering, here focusing on D’s wrongful/unjust gain

ACCIDENTS (outside of ex-post negligence)
STRICT LIABILITY FOR ANIMALS
Livestock – imposes strict liability for possessor of trespassing livestock UNLESS (1) harm is not foreseeable; (2) trespass by animals being herded along highway is confined to abutting land; or (3) state common law/statute requires complaining landowner to have erected a fence
Domestic animals – only where possessor knew of animals dangerous disposition
Wild Animals – majority of jurisdictions apply strict liability to any owner of a wild animal (Minority – only if statutory law says specific animal is under strict liability)
STRICT LAIBILTIY FOR ULTRAHAZARDOUS ACTIVITES

P must show
(1) risk of abnormally great harm should D’s safety efforts fail;
(2) virtual impossibility of D’s elimination of risk of harm even w/ utmost care;
(3) resultant harm to P or P’s property CAUSED BY very hazards the risk of which led to describing D’s conduct as “abnormally dangerous”

Restatement – determination of abnormally dangerous
(1) Degree of risk of harm to persons or property;
(2) magnitude of harm;
(3) inevitability of risk irrespective of precautionary measures which may be taken;
(4) ordinary nature of activity in community in which it is found; and
(5) activity’s value to community in comparison of risk of harm created