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Torts
University of Toledo School of Law
McPeak, Agnieszka Anna

Fall 2015 Torts – Professor Agnieszka McPeak

Introduction to Tort Law
Tort Law provides a legal cause of action providing injured individuals and entities recovery for wrongs committed against them resulting in injury to their person or property.
Permits recovery for personal or property injuries resulting from civil wrongs, other than those arising from a breach of a contract.
: to restore a wrongfully injured person to his or her pre-injury status, as much as it is possible to do so.
A person is liable for their own actions causing injury, unless an injury is caused through no fault of their own
Tort liability requires fault
If an individual uses ordinary care during a lawful act, he is not liable for injuries resulting from that act
(four elements below) – P must show D failed to use necessary care burden of proof on P)

Breach of Duty

Damages (Harm)
Strict Liability (activity itself causes harm, for which the actor will be responsible)
A party (plaintiff) who has sustained property damages caused by [activity] may recover w/o a showing of negligence by the defendant. The one who engages in [activity] must assume responsibility, and be liable w/o fault, for any damages caused to surrounding property.
Policy concerns – strict liability for inherently dangerous activities
Absolute liability – Party performing this act will always be liable for damages to surrounding properties. There are be exceptions and defenses for strict liability.
Mental Spectrum
Just fine à àà Negligence àà Recklessàà Knowledge to Substantial CertaintyàPurpose
Knowledge to substantial certainty and purpose are only places on spectrum where intent occurs
Intentional Torts
Elements (prima facie structure)




Intent exists when the act is done with (1) Purpose producing that consequence; or (2) Knowledge to a substantial certainty that the consequence will result
possibility
probability
substantial risk
reckless or foreseeable
Intent can be inferred from showing actor had knowledge to a substantial certainty
Knowledge and appreciation of a risk, short of substantial certainty, is not the equivalent of intent
Minors & mentally ill persons are held to same standard as adults, unless they cannot form intent
Most states have statutes that establish an age prior to which it is impossible to form intent
You do not need to intend the ultimate injury (for intent to be formed)
Tort law only requires P proving that it’s 51% likely that D committed the offense (more likely than not)
Transferred Intent
Intent transfers among different people
Person A intended to batter Person B, instead harmed Person C
Liability exists if defendant injures a different person aside from the one they originally intended to batter
Intent transfers among certain torts
Intend assault, but cause a battery, then intent element for battery is met. (Alteiri)
Mainly assault and battery
Despite making a mistake in good faith, liability still exists
For a battery, only intent needed is for harmful or offensive contact (RS approach)
malice; Not intending the ultimate injury
Harmful or offensive [bodily] contact
Bodily contact can be contact w/something intimately/closely associated w/ body


Battery victim doesn’t need awareness of the battery
There is a difference between offensive and harmful bodily contact
Harmful battery: contact results in physical pain or illness.
Actor acts with intent to cause [applies to either element below] harmful or offensive contact, or
an imminent apprehension of such contact
Harmful contact directly or indirectly results.
Offensive battery: contact offends a sense of personal dignity.
Actor acts with intent to cause [applies to either element below] harmful or offensive contact, or
an imminent apprehension of such contact
Offensive contact directly or indirectly results.
Must intend offensive contact, not merely cause it negligently or recklessly
Offensive contact is one that offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity.
Offensive battery must be offensive to the reasonable person, not just life in “a crowded world.”
Sometimes unwelcomed touching is just part of living in a crowded world
Assault – Intentionally creating the imminent apprehension of bodily harm.
Actor acts with intent to cause [applies to either element below] Harmfu

property is no excuse) – the intent element applies the action taken putting onto another’s land (i.e. walking), not an intent to trespass
Nominal damages are available in trespass to chattel cases
Loss of possession for a brief duration can lead to nominal damages, or no damage to chattel
Significant duration would be compensatory or punitive
Measure of damages based on loss of value
Receive damages for harm done (or value of time lost with chattel)
Compensatory/punitive damages for trespass to chattel do not occur if the chattel is not impaired in its condition, quality, or value – Requires harm to the chattel
An intentional exercise of dominion or control over a chattel which so seriously interferes with the right of another to control it that the actor may justly be required to pay the full value of the chattel
Intentionally exercising dominion over a chattel,
In a way that seriously interferes with another’s right to control
Can recover damages for full market value
Conversion damages may be paying full market value for the chattel (depending on certain factors)
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)
Cause of action is established when it is shown that one intentionally subjects another to the mental suffering that comes with serious threats to the other’s physical well-being, whether or not the threats are made under such circumstances as to constitute a technical assault
Liable for emotional harm and any resulting bodily harm. But no physical injury required.
Extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional harm to another is subject to liability for emotional harm and, if the emotional harm causes bodily harm, also for the bodily harm
Extreme and outrageous conduct that