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Torts
University of Toledo School of Law
Slater, Joseph E.

Professor Slater – Torts – Fall 2012 (University of Toledo Law)


Questions for Exam:
1)       Is it an intentional tort (ABCFIT)?
a.       Act, Intent, Causation à Only I.I.E.D and Trespass to Chattels require Damages as 4th requirement for a prima facie case
2)       What are the defenses for intentional torts (DARNCOPS)?

I.                   Intentional Torts (Assault, Battery, Conversion, False Imprisonment, I.I.E.D, Trespass to Chattels and Land à ABCFIT)
i.      Desire to cause consequences OR knowledge to a “substantial certainty” that consequences will result at the time of the act (intent).
ii.      Doctrine of transferred intent (from all intentional torts to others or from person to person): where the defendant intends tortious conduct on one party, but the resulting harm is caused upon another party, then the defendant will be held liable (X throw rock at A, but hits B, X is liable to B for battery) [FAB] 1.       False Imprisonment
2.       Assault
3.       Battery
iii.      Minors and incompetent persons are generally held liable for intentional torts that he/she commits (case by case)
iv.      The defendant who commits an intentional tort, at least if it involves conscious wrongdoing, is liable for all damages caused, not just those intended or foreseeable (extended liability principle)
v.      Single intent (majority rule): defendant intends to touch and it turns out to be harmful or offensive
vi.      Dual intent (minority rule): defendant intends to touch and intends to harm or offend
vii.      Eggshell plaintiff: defendant must take the victim as he finds him. If the victim is more susceptible to injury than an average individual would be, the defendant is still liable for all the damages that occur even if he would have had to pay much less had he injured someone else.

b.      Battery (physical tort)
i.      Where one has unpermitted touching
ii.      Person is subject to liability for battery if:
1.       Defendant acts intending to cause an offensive or harmful contact with another person AND an offensive or harmful contact result
2.       Defendant acts intending to commit an assault placing someone in imminent apprehension (or frighten someone) and offensive or harmful contact directly or indirectly results
iii.      There is no liability for battery where the contact results from negligent or reckless conduct
iv.      Conduct offensive to one's personal dignity is sufficient for battery
1.       Blowing smoke into someone's face
2.       Spitting
3.       Pulling a chair out beneath someone
v.      Protection against battery extends to anything that can be identified with plaintiff
1.       Clothing
2.       Cane

c.       Assault (mental tort)
i.      Defendant acts intending to place plaintiff in imminent apprehension of offensive or harmful contact AND the plaintiff is placed in such imminent apprehension
ii.      Defendant acts intending to commit a battery, the defendant misses, the plaintiff is frightened (or placed in imminent apprehension)
iii.      Plaintiff must have knowledge or awareness of defendant's act
iv.      Future threats lack imminence → insufficient for assault
v.      Words alone are insufficient unless accompanied by some overt act
vi.      A conditional that the defendant has no right to impose (defendant says “hand me your wallet or you will get hurt”)




d.      False Imprisonment
i.      Requirements:
1.       Defendant must act intending AND does confine plaintiff within certain fixed boundaries against plaintiff's consent
a.       There is not false imprisonment if there is a safe and reasonable means of escape
2.       Plaintiff must be conscious or aware of the confinement or harm by it
a.       Exception: dealing with young children, infant, mentally incompetent
ii.      Confinement may result in physical force, barriers that restrain freedom of movement, present threats of force (defendant says to plaintiff if you leave this room, “I will break plaintiff's legs” and plaintiff stays feared for his/her well-being) or thinking the defendant will do something to you if you attempt to leave [restrain you] iii.      If there were no physical or economic injuries, the plaintiff must show that he/she was aware of the confinement to receive damages
iv.      An unlawful, warrantless arrest can constitute false imprisonment
v.      No false imprisonment will lie with a shopkeeper who detains a suspected shoplifter (Shopkeeper's Privilege) if:
1.       Reasonable grounds that a theft has occurred
2.       Detention is conducted in a reasonable manner (good faith investigations)
3.       Detention is limited to a reasonable period of time

e.        Torts to Property
i.      Trespass to Land (on the land, below the land, or above the land) [interfering with one's right to exclusive possession] 1.       A person is subject to liability to another for trespass:
a.       where he/she intentionally enters onto the land in the possession of another
b.       intentionally remains on the land
c.        fails to remove a thing from the land of which he/she has a duty to remove
2.       Plaintiff must have actual possession or a right to possess the land (an adverse possessor, lessee, or lessor)
3.       Mistake of ownership is not a defense
4.       No liability for trespass:
a.       accidental entries that are non-negligible and unintentional (hitting a golf ball, ricochets off of a tree limb and goes into a yard)

ii.      Trespass to Chattels (*plaintiff must show ACTUAL damages/not nominal → damages to property are included*)
1.       Intentional interference with a chattel of another (even if it is slight) → The following are trespass to chattels:
a.       dispossessing another of his/her chattel
b.       chattel is impaired in its condition, quality, OR value
c.        possessor is deprived of the use of the chattel for a substantial period of time
2.       Where someone intentionally intermeddles, dispossesses, or slightly interferes one of his/her own chattel
a.       Defendant is liable for diminished value of the chattel

iii.      Conversion of Chatt

upiers of premises (property always has less value than life)
iii.      Not in fear of your life or absent fear of serious bodily harm → you cannot use deadly force
iv.      Warning signs and other barriers are no defense
v.      Recapture of chattels: use reasonable force and be in hot pursuit; must be done peaceably or not at all


e.       Necessity
i.      Public necessity: person may enter onto land to avert an imminent public disaster
1.       Absolute defense to trespass and damages
2.       Where the danger affects the entire community or where the public interest is involved, then that interest serves as a complete justification to the defendant who acts to avert said peril
ii.      Private necessity: person will be liable for damages for any harm that he/she causes to property
1.       Averting danger for one's own good → not liable for trespass, but still liable for damages he/she causes to the others property

f.       Cases of Consent (one who is willing, no harm is done)
i.      Actual (explicit) consent: plaintiff explicitly states consent
ii.      Effective (implied) consent: when a reasonable person would think by your behavior that you had consented (playing basketball and getting elbowed)
iii.      Being misled does not constitute consent (sparring with rubber-tips and A intentionally left his tip off and stabs B)
iv.      Consent is not valid under terms of power or duress (prison guard saying prisoner consented is not valid)
v.      Minors:
1.       Mature minors: 17-year-old children can consent to most things 7-year-old children cannot (touching in the hospital)
vi.      Sexual Intercourse:
1.       A consents to sexual intercourse with B, who knows that A is ignorant of the fact that B has a venereal disease, B is subject to liability to A for battery.
vii.      Medical procedures
1.       Ordinarily, express consent is required → w/o it, procedure is battery even if successful
2.       Exceptions to express consent:
a.       patient is incapable of giving consent (would have representative make decision for him/her → what the incompetent would want)
b.       during operation, problem is found that is life threatening and urgent
3.       Plaintiff's Implied Consent: assume Plaintiff would consent depending on seriousness of the injury, how intrusive would it be later, and the risks and benefits