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Torts
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Kutner, Peter B.

Intentional Torts
 
Battery
I.        Intentional infliction of harmful or offensive bodily contact
II.      Elements
A.      intent to make bodily contact
B.      bodily contact occurs
C.      contact is offensive or harmful
III.   Act – bodily contact
A.      Need to have a positive act, doing nothing is not an action. Might be able to state that holding a position is an action though (Hypothetical)
IV.    Intent – to cause offensive or harmful bodily contact with a person or third person
A.      Intent does not have to be to injure, only to make contact (Lambertson v. U.S.)
B.      Offensive or harmful contact is determined by the ordinary man (Lambertson v. U.S.)
C.      Two types of intent
1.       Purpose: to make contact
2.       Knowledge: to know with substantial certainty that offensive or harmful contact WILL occur (Garret v. Dailey)
a.       Knowledge was important b/c in some cases you could have a primary purpose where the intent did not meet the result, although the actor knew the result would occur (man blows up bldg to blow up files, but knows people are always in the bldg)
i.         Insane people can be found liable for battery if they are capable of entertaining intent and do entertain that intent.(McGuire v. Almy) (assumption of risk not valid in this case)
D.      Doctrine of Transfered Intent and Interchangeability of Intent applicable
V.      Result – offensive or harmful bodily contact with a person or third person
A.      Contact DOES NOT have to result in ACTUAL harm (Cole v. Turner)
1.       Reason law decided this (1) keeps peace from vigilantism (2) reigns in actions b/c people know they will be held liable
B.      Small category of socially acceptable non-offensive intentional touching (tap on shoulder) (Wallace v. Rosen)
C.      Not necessary to touch the P’s body or even his clothing; knocking or snatching anything from P’s hand or touching anything connected with his person, when done in an offensive manner, is sufficient (Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.)   
VI.    Damages
A.      For mental suffering are recoverable without the necessity for showing actual physical injury in a case of willful battery b/c the basis of that action is the unpermitted and intentional invasion of the P’s person and not the actual harm done to the P’s body (Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.)
B.      Egg-Shell Skull Rule – a person is liable for all the damages related to an act, even if they did not intend to cause the extent to which damages occurred or did not know damages would occur to that extent.
VII. Intent and Result must be linked. Man shoots bear, turns out to be person. No battery b/c the intent was to kill an animal not a person. Not a close enough link.
VIII.                       Defenses
A.      Acceptable defenses
1.       Intentional Tort Defenses
a.       Consent, Defense of Persons, Defense of Property, Necessity, Authority of Law
B.      Unacceptable defenses
1.       Reasonable mistake
a.       Reason: Mistake would unjustly enrich someone if there was no remedy (Ranson v. Kitner)
2.       Assumption of Risk, Contributory Negligence
 
Assault
I.        Intentional infliction of the reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact
II.      Elements
A.      intent to cause apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive bodily contact
B.      apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive bodily contact occurs
III.   Act – causing apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive bodily contact
A.      Knowledge (on the part of the threatener) of an inability to follow through with a threat does not negate responsibility when the threatened has reason to believe the threat can be carried out. 
1.       An act done to induce another action can satisfy intent, even if the actor trying to induce action knows that they cannot follow through with their threat (Allan v. Hannaford)
IV.    Intent – to cause apprehension of an imminent battery
A.      To cause apprehension, the person has to know what is happening. A person cannot be apprehensive if they don’t know something is going to happen.
B.      The action associated with the intent has to be immediate or imminent(Tuberville v. Savage)
C.      Doctrine of Transfered Intent and Interchangeability of Intent applicable
V.      Result – apprehension of an imminent battery
A.      Even the SLIGHTEST apprehension constitutes apprehension
VI.    Words in themselves, no matter how threatening, do not constitute an assault; the actor must be in a position to carry out the threat immediately and he must take some affirmative action to do so (Cucinotti v. Ortmann)
VII.Damages
A.      Physical damages not necessary
VIII.                       Defenses
A.      Acceptable defenses
1.       Intentional Tort Defenses
a.       Consent, Defense of Persons, Defense of Property, Necessity, Authority of Law
B.      Unacceptable defenses
1.       Contributory negligence, assumption of risk, mistake
 
Transfer of Intent (Alteriri v. Colasso)
I.        “Interchangeability of intent” (Kutner’s own term) – refers to intent requirements of assault and battery being interchangeable.
1.       An act designed to cause bodily injury to a particular person is actionable as a battery not only by the person intended by the actor to be injured but also by another who is in fact so injured (Alteiri v. Colasso), this intent is interchangeable to assault
II.      “Transferred intent” – refers to intent transfer from person to person. Ex. D intends to hit X and hits Y
 
False Imprisonment
I.        Intentional infliction of a confinement
II.      Elements
A.      intent to physically confine within fixed boundaries against another’s will
B.      confinement occurs
C.      victim is either aware of confinement or harmed by it
III.   Act/Result – confinement
A.      There MUST be a confinement
1.       MUST be limits or boundaries within which the P is being kept (Bird v. Jones)
2.       MUST be no reasonable means of escape
a.       NO imprisonment if a way of escape is left open without peril of life or limb.
b.       Unreasonable escape includes exposure of person, material harm to clothing, or danger or substantial harm to another. (Bird v. Jones and notes pg 42)
c.        A means of escape is not a reasonable one if the P does not know of its existence or is not apparent (notes pg 42) (liability may result if D does not inform P of the exit, notes pg 50)
3.       Compelling someone to move in some way against their will is false imprisonment only if coupled with confinement (Bird v. Jones, Parvi v. City of Kingston)
4.       No liability for intentionally confining another UNLESS the person physically restrained knows of the confinement or is harmed by it. (Parvi v. City of Kingston)
a.       If intoxicated, P must show at time of confinement KNEW of confinement
5.       Mental restraint is NOT enough, P MUST be confined in a physical manner. 
a.       Physical force is NOT necessary, BUT need prospect of physical force that will occur immediately, then false imprisonment. (Faniel v. Chesapeake Telephone)
b.       Economic pressure, reputation pressure, fear of future consequences pressure, social pressures are all voluntary submissions and DO NOT qualify as false imprisonment. (notes from 9/12)
6.       Confinement may not be by force, but liability can result if the responsibility to not keep in confinement or release from confinement is present (Whittaker v. Sandford)
B.      There MUST be an interference with the physical person (i.e. Taiwan Hypo would not be imprisonment b/c he has the whole country to roam)
C.      False Pretenses: If P willingly enters into confinement, even under false pretenses, then no

ntrance, either in person or through an object, onto another’s land
II.      Elements
A.      intent to make contact or cause contact to the land
B.      contact with land occurs
III.   Act
A.      Every unauthorized, and therefore unlawful entry, into the close of another, is a trespass (Dougherty v. Stepp)
B.      May be committed by the continued presence on the land of a structure, chattel or other thing which the actor or his predecessor in legal interest therein has placed thereon:
1.       (a) with the consent of the person then in possession of the land, if the actor fails to remove it after the consent has been effectively terminated (Restatement §160 pg73, Rogers v. Board of Road Com’rs for Kent County)
2.       (b) pursuant to a privilege conferred on the actor regardless of the possessor’s consent, if the actor fails to remove it after the privilege is terminated (Restatement §160 pg73)
IV.    Intent – to make or cause contact with land
A.      No trespass if no intent
1.       ex. Accidentally falling onto land – no trespass (notes 9/14)
V.      Result – contact with land
A.      Air Space Limits
1.       Height is limited to the area of air space that can be used in conjunction with the surface (normally means area you can build on) at heights above which you could not naturally use.   All the rest of the space is public. (Bernstein v. Skyviews)
2.       Low Airspace: Interference with low airspace (area of air space that can be used in conjunction with the surface ) is trespass (Herrin v. Sutherland)
3.       High Airspace: Planes, balloons, etc. – no trespass
VI.    Damages
A.      NO ACTUAL damage is required (Dougherty v. Stepp). 
1.       Why use? Operates as a deterrent to keep people aware of land boundaries
B.      Nominal damages awarded when no harm occurs for reasons above mentioned
VII.Defenses
A.      Unacceptable defenses
1.       Mistake (Ranson v. Kitner)
VIII.                       Don’t confuse trespass with nuisance. Trespass does not require actual interference with use. Nuisance is an action that belongs to a person who owns land and someone actually interferes in the use and enjoyment of that land. Nuisance does not have to involve trespass. (notes 9/14)
IX.    Claimant
A.      Trespass action lies only for the possessor (legal and actual)
1.       Any possession is a legal possession against a wrongdoer (Graham v. Peat). However, the right of possession by an owner is greater than the wrongful, actual possession of a squatter.
2.       Rightful possession passes to anyone acting on behalf of that rightful possessor
3.       If D trespasses on land and someone is hurt who is not the possessor, that person cannot bring an action of trespass. (notes 9/18)
4.       Levels of possession – factor of time and level of control over the property. (notes 9/18)
5.       A license to use for a particular purpose does not always translate into a right of possession. Example: exclusion of people from land, the licensee could not bring trespass if the license had nothing to do with that purpose or right. (notes 9/18)