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

Torts
Fall 2007
* indicates must know case by Name*
I.                    Development of Liability Based Upon Fault
Weaver v. Ward, 1616 (DB)
–         Shows early common law strict liability
–         Earliest known case in which it was clearly recognized that a defendant might not be liable, even in a trespass action, for a purely accidental injury occurring entirely without his fault. Note that the burden rests upon the defendant to plead an prove his freedom from all fault.
Brown v. Kendall, 1850 (DB)
–         The plaintiff must come prepared with evidence to show either that the intention was unlawful, or that the defendant was in fault; for if the injury was unavoidable, and the conduct of defendant free from blame, he will not be liable.
Cohen v Petty, 1933 (DB)
–         Defendant not liable because fainted unexpectedly
Spano v. Perini, 1969 (DB)
–         Refused to hold defendant liable because did not prove that the defendant was negligent, and thus did not address whether the blasting was cause of injury. Note: different from Weaver and the early common law, the burden on the plaintiff to prove negligence.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
II.                 Intentional Interference With Person or Property
1.      Intent
Garratt v. Dailey, 1955
R § 13(2) Character of Actor’s Intentions (p.18)
–         Purpose , or
–         Knowledge of substantial certainty
Spivey v. Battaglia, 1972
–          Knowledge of a risk, short of substantial certainty, is not intent (distinction between intent and negligence is a matter of degree)
Ranson v. Kitner, 1889 (DB)
–         Held liable for value of dog ($50) even though mistakenly thought was a wolf, which they were hunting
McGuire v. Almy, 1937
–         Fact that the defendant was capable of entertaining and that she did entertain an intent to strike and to injure plaintiff and that she acted upon that intent.
R § 13, 14
Talmage v. Smith, 1894
–         Defendant had the intention to hit somebody with the stick and to inflict unwarranted injury upon someone; therefore, the plaintiff can recover even though the defendant did not have the intent to hit him in particular, all that was need was intention to hit someone.
–         Transferred intent.
 
2.      Battery
Cole v. Turner, 1704, Eng (DB)
–         Evidence in trespass and for battery: 1. That the least touching of another in anger is battery. 2. If two or more meet in a narrow passage, and without any violence or design of harm, the one touches the other gently it will be no batter. 3. If any of them use violence against the other, to force his way in a rude inordinate manner, it is batter; or any struggle about the passage to that degree as may do hurt, is a battery.
Wallace v. Rosen, 2002
–         Not only touch, but do so in a rude, insolent, or angry manner
R § 13 Batter: Harmful Contact (p33)
R § Battery: Offensive Contact (p33)
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc., 1967
–         The plate was regarded as part of body, so snatching it away was battery
R § 18
 
3.      Assault
I de S et ux (DB)
–         Can recover damages for assault because there was harm done and a trespass although he did no other harm
Western Union Telegraph v. Hill, 1933
–         For action able assault, there must be an intentional, unlawful, offer to touch the person of another in a rued or angry manner under such circumstances as to create in the mind of the party alleging the assault a well-founded fear of an imminent battery, coupled with the apparent present ability to effectuate the attempt, if not prevented.
 
4.      False Imprisonment
Big Town Nursing Home v. Newman, 1970
–         Is it a

r in granting damages to the defendant if no physical harm was done to him and was only threatened to be done at a future time (defendant could not leave meeting for threat of being beaten up, as a result he vomited several times and couldn’t work)?
–         No, damages awarded were affirmed. The SRC Ass’n intended to fill Siliznoff with extreme fear to coerce him into agreeing with their terms. They had no right to do this and placed the burden of undue mental distress upon Siliznoff. The greater proof that mental suffering occurred is in the Ass’n’s conduct to bring it about, rather than the fact Siliznoff the physical injury that resulted. Siliznof was intimidated and threatened into agreeing to the terms and put in a state of fear for his well-being and livelihood.
Slocum v. Food Fair Stores of Florida, 1958
R § 46
–         Is uniformly agreed that the determination of whether words or conduct are actionable in character is to be made on an objective rather than subjective standard
–         Must be “severe and emotional distress”
Sub-principle: however, regarding common carriers, the existence of a special relationship supports a right and correlative duty of courtesy beyond that legally required in general and personal relationships. That is, an employee of carrier, hotel, theater, telegraph office, do not have the same leniency or requirement of “sever and emotional distress.” They are held to a higher standard because of the relationship at hand.