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

Torts I
Owen
Fall 2009

I. Development of Liability Based Upon Fault
3 Possible Bases of Tort Liability:
1. Intentional conduct
2. Negligent conduct that creates an unreasonable risk of causing harm (85% of all torts)
3. Conduct that is neither intentional nor negligent but that subjects the actor to strict liability because of public policy.
II. Intentional Interference With Person or Property
A. Intent
· Intent: the act must be done for the purpose of causing the contact or apprehension of or with knowledge on the part of the actor that such contact or apprehension is substantially certain to be produced.
Garratt v. Dailey:
· Chair moving little boy
· Anyone, even a young child, can be charged and convicted of a tort if there is knowledge that a particular result is the likely consequence.
· Intent requires knowledge or substantial certainty.
Spivey v. Battaglia:
· Paralysis resulting from unsolicited/wanted hug.
· When a result is not substantially certain to result, there is no knowledge of the result and therefore no intent.
Ranson v. Kitner:
· Δ shot a canine believing it to be a wolf.
· Δ intended to kill an animal. Just because the one killed wasn’t the one desired doesn’t remove the intent.
· Δ is liable for mistakes.
McGuire v. Almy:
· Caretaker beaten up by crazy patient.
· Any person is liable for their torts, even the insane, IF they are capable of entertaining and enacting their intents.
· Understanding of intent is required.
Talmage v. Smith:
· Stick throwing shed owner.
· Δ intended to hit someone, but hit the wrong target. The intent transfers between the intended boy and the boy actually hit.
· Transferred Intent: Intent will transfer between a party who was the intended recipient of the tort, and another party.
· Transferred Intent: Whenever both the intended tort and the resulting harm fall within the scope of the five torts under the old action of trespass, even if the actor intends one of the five but causes a different one of the five, he is still liable. (Casebook)
· P&K states that only battery, assault, and false imprisonment are transferable. This suggests that these are the only 3 that transfer.
B. Battery
The intentional infliction of a harmful or offensive bodily contact.
Restatement:
· §13 Battery Harmful Contact: an actor acts with the intent of causing harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact.
· §18 Battery Offensive Contact: same as §13 but refers to a resulting offensive act rather than a resulting harmful act
· §15 Bodily Harm: any physical impairment of the condition of another’s body, or physical pain or illness. Impairment includes the slightest alteration of the structure or function of an part of another’s body, even if causes no other harm.
Cole v. Turner:
· Defines Battery as the least touching of another in anger.
Wallace v. Rosen:
· Battery is the knowing or intentional touching of pone person by another in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.:
· Plate Grabbing Racist
· An offensive contact with something regarded as intimately connected with one’s body (plate, purse, clothing, cane, glasses, etc.), constitutes a battery.
C. Assault
Assault: An actor is subject to liability to another for assault if
(a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of 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.
Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Hill:
· Mr. Let Me Fix Your Clock
· Apprehension is in the mind of the Π. As long as the Π believes that the contact can and will occur, then Δ is guilty of assault.
D. False Imprisonment
False Imprisonment: An actor is subject to liability to another for false imprisonment if
a. he acts intending to confine the other or a third person within boundaries fixed by the actor, and
b. his act directly or indirectly results in such a confinement of the other, and
c. the other is conscious of the confinement or is harmed by it.
· Confinement must be complete. Π can have no knowledge/ability of escape. Π doesn’t have to risk harm.
· Methods of confinement: physical barriers, force, threat of force, other duress (threats to family members), asserted legal authority
Big Town Nursing Home, Inc. v. Newman:
· Grandpa on lockdown by Δ
· False Imprisonment is denying the right to leave when not required/justified/commited.
Parvi v. City of Kingston:
· Drunken Roadkill
· Π can be aware of the confinement at the time of the tort even if they fail to remember the tort later.
Hardy v. LaBelle’s Distributing Co.:
· Employee accused of stealing a watch
· Π must be aware of confinement and be held against will. If Π willingly enters an office and stays there during an interrogation, then there is no FI.
Enright v. Groves:
· Where’s your Driver’s License!?!??!
· Improper arrest (either b

ssessor is deprived of the use of the chattel for a substantial time, or
d. Bodily harm is thereby caused to the possessor or harm is caused to some person or thing in which the possessor has a legally protected interest
Glidden v. Szybiak:
· Dog bitten little girl
· The Δ’s dog (chattel) was not injured in any way, thus it doesn’t constitute a trespass to chattels.
· § 218 Restatement says: one who without consensual or other privilege to do so, uses or otherwise intentionally intermeddles with a chattel which is in possession of another is liable for trespass to such person if:
a. the chattel is impaired as to its condition, quality, or value
b. the possessor is deprived of the use of the chattel for a substantial time,
c. bodily harm is thereby caused to some person or thing in which the possessor has a legally protected interest.
CompuServe Inc., Cyber Promotions, Inc.:
· Δ clogged Π’s super highway with junk mail. Customers complained.
· Damage to business, degrading a business’s reputation, or dispossession of chattel all constitute trespass to chattels.
H. Conversion
· Trespass to chattels is the little brother to conversion, if conversion question consider ttc, & vice versa
· Intentional exercise of dominion of control over a chattel that so seriously interferes with the right of another to control it that the actor must justly be required to pay the other the full value of the chattel (and thus acquire title to it)
· Determining factors:
a. Extent and duration of actor’s exercise of dominion
b. Actor’s intent to assert a right inconsistent with the other’s right of control (mental state)
c. Actor’s good faith (mental state)
d. Extent and duration of the resulting interference (degree of damage)
e. Harm done to the chattel (degree of damage)
f. Inconvenience and expense caused (degree of damage)
· Methods of conversion
a. Acquiring possession (stealing)
b. Damaging or altering (running over animal)
c. Using (serious violation of bailment)