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University of Oklahoma College of Law
Tabb, Murray

Torts Outline

A. Tort – A civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy.

B. Objectives of Tort Law
1. Provide a peaceful means for adjusting the rights of parties who might otherwise “take the law into their own hands.”
2. Deter wrongful conduct.
3. Encourage socially responsible behavior.
4. Restore injured parties to their original condition, insofar as the law can do.


A. Intent – A Δ must intend to bring about some sort of physical or mental effect/consequence upon another person.
1. Types of Intent
a. Specific Intent
– Δ purposefully intends to consequences of his conduct.

b. General Intent
– Δ is substantially certain that consequences will result.

2. The actor needs not to intend injury.
– the specific outcome/consequence does not need to be known
– good faith does not excuse
– bad faith is not a requirement

3. Transfer of Intent
a. If A intends to strike B, but instead strikes C, then A is liable to C.
– if there is intent to cause a consequence, a person is still liable even if they do not know the specific result

b. Applies to assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land, and trespass to chattels.

4. Mistaken Intent
a. A is liable to B for damages caused by a mistake, even if the mistake is made in good faith.
– mistake and not accident, infers that intent was still present
– B must not wrongfully induce the mistake

5. Insanity
a. An insane person is liable for harms caused intentionally.
– must entertain thought of intent
– fault is not a prerequisite for intent

BATTERY – occurs when Δ’s acts intentionally cause harmful or offensive contact.

A. Battery is defined as the intentional invasion of bodily integrity.

B. Requires an intentional actthat brings about harmful or offensive contact.
1. Contact does not necessarily have to be to another’s person, but can be to something intimately connected to a person. (plate in Fisher)

C. Basis for battery is the “unpermitted and intentional invasion of the Π’s person and not actual harm done to the Π’s body.”

D. Harmful or Offensive Contact
Whether any given contact is to be construed as harmful or offensive is judged by whether it would be considered harmful or offensive by a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities. Contact is deemed “offensive” if the Π has not yet expressly or impliedly consented to it.

ASSAULT – occurs when Δ’s intentional acts cause apprehension of immediate harmful or offensive conduct.

A. Requirements
1. Intent
2. Reasonable apprehension in Π of immedia

a lawful reason (not a smart mouth).

2. Storeowners have privilege to detain, otherwise they would risk losing a product by theft altogether or being liable for false arrest. Storeowner must:
a. have reasonable suspicion
b. use reasonable force
c. conduct investigation on or near premises
d. detain for only a reasonable amount of time
e. detain in a reasonable manner

INTENTIONAL INFLICTION of EMOTIONAL DISTRESS– occurs when Δ, by extreme and outrageous conduct, intentionally or recklessly causes the victim severe emotional distress. (expanded scope of intentional torts)

A. Requirements
1. Conduct must be intentional or reckless
2. Conduct must be extreme or outrageous
3. There must be a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the emotional distress
4. The emotional distress must be severe.

B. Known sensitivity
If Δ knows that the Π is more sensitive and thus more susceptible to emotional distress than the average person, liability will follow if the Δ uses extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally to cause such distress and succeeds.