Select Page

University of South Carolina School of Law
Owen, David G.

1. Elements of the Cause of Action-5 elements to establish prima facie case-
a. Duty – to use reasonable care (the standard of care) to protect others against unreasonable risks
i. Usually have obligation but not always
b. Breach of duty – Not conforming to the required standard of care
i. All cases today ask whether was a breach of the standard of care
ii. Omission of a duty to act could also be unreasonable
c. Cause in fact – if the event hadn’t happened the harm would not have occurred
i. Must be a causal link between ∆’s conduct and π’s harm
d. Legal/Proximate cause – assumes actual cause and assumes that it is reasonably close and not too remote
i. At some point consequences of unreasonable conduct become part of the risk of life
e. Damage – actual loss resulting to the interest of another
i. Includes actual and punitive damages

A. Intentional Torts

1)Willful purpose
2) Knowledge with substantial certainty that result will occur

Intent goes with consequences (not just desired consequences), not the act itself
Transferred intent (all 5 original torts—hornbook excludes property and chattels)

I. Battery
Harmful Contact
1) Acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact w/ the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such contact, and
2) Harmful contact w/ the person directly or indirectly results
Bodily Harm—any physical impairment of the condition of another’s body, or physical pain or illness
Offensive contact – offends reasonable sense of personal dignity (contact which would offend the ordinary person and as such one not unduly sensitive as to his personal dignity—unwarranted by the social usages prevalent at the time and place at which it is inflicted)
A) an actor is subject to liability to another for battery if:
1) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact w/ the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and
2) an offensive contact w/ the person of the other directly or indirectly results
B) an act which is not done w/ the intention state in (A,1) does not make the actor liable to the other for a mere offensive

· Words are not enough to satisfy
· Must be imminent, future threats do not constitute this offense
· Π must be aware of danger, but need not actually be afraid
· Unusual sensitivity doesn’t matter, it is what a reasonable person would think
· Not necessary that actor has or believes that he has the ability to inflict the harmful or bodily contact which his ct apparently threatens
· Fear of harm to 3rd person is not enough
· Conditions (money or your life) don’t negate assault, unless legal right to do so.

III. False Imprisonment
Intentional infliction of a confinement.
1) Act
2) Intent
3) Confinement (held within certain limits-not kept out of somewhere)
4) Π is aware of confinement

· must be no reasonable way to escape
· if there is a reasonable means of escape, ¶ must be aware of it or still F.I.
· Ways to be detained
o Physical barriers