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

Prof. Owen
Torts I Outline
I. What is a tort?

Tort: A civil wrong other than a breach of contract (but can include a breach of contract); it involves property rights; “the law providing civil regress for interpersonal wrongs and some times institutional wrongs.“ This is almost always in the form of damages for a wrongly inflicted injury.
Tort comes from Latin word “tortus” meaning twisted.
TWIN ROLE OF TORTS- The purpose of tort law is to deter behavior and compensate victims.

A. Factors affecting liability:
1) recognized need for compensation- determines when compensation is require,
2) moral aspects of defendant’s conduct
B. The law of torts seeks to purify the imbalance of what has happened to the victim, to restore the victim to her pretort event.
C. Torts can be divided into three categories: 1) intentional torts, 2) negligence (85%), and 3) strict liability

I. Intent
a) Definition- denotes that the actor desires to cause consequences of his act, or that he believes that the consequences are substantially certain to result from it; desire or purpose to bring about a physical/emotional effect
If an actor is less than substantially certain that an act will result in an effect, the actor may be liable for negligence.
b) General: intent refers to these two elements, not a person’s mental state
a. Desire/purpose to cause offensive/unlawful/harmful consequences
b. Know with substantial certainty that harmful consequences will result

c) Cases & Rules
1) Garrat v. Dailey- kid who moved chair from under woman
a) Intent Requires knowledge or substantial certainty that particular results/consequences will occur
2) Spivey v. Battaglia- D hugged plaintiff and she became paralyzed on her face
a) Intent requires substantial certainty (almost certain) of results
3) Macguire v. Almy- insane lady hit her nurse with a piece of furniture on head
a) People, even the insane, can be held liable for their torts as long as they form the necessary intent required (understanding of intent is required)
4) Talmage v. Smith- man threw stick at kid on roof
a) Intent transfers from intended victim to a third person (plaintiff) (among
b) Intent can be transferred in the five original torts- assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land, & trespass to chattels, but P & K says only assault, battery, and false imprisonment (among torts)

II. Battery: Harmful Contact
a) Battery (§13): An actor is subject to liability to another for battery i

sonal dignity
Would an ordinary person not extraordinarily sensitive find the contact offensive?

b) Cases & Rules
1) Fisher v. Carousel- waiter who grabbed plate from African-American hotel guest
a) Rule- Offensive contact with objects associated with your person is a battery (plate, purse, cane, hat)
2) Cole v. Turner:
a) Rule- This case said that the least touching of another in anger is a battery.
3) Wallace v. Rosen: teacher in fire drill touched parent’s head to get her to move
a) A battery is the knowing or intentional touching of one person by another in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.
4) Awareness is not necessary to have a batter. Ex: you could be asleep and experience a battery.

III. Assault
1) An actor is subject to liability to another for assault if:
a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and
b) the other is thereby put in such imminent apprehension