Torts –- Outline
Law of Torts
Always true: what is the harm here? What harm is this tort meant to protect against? We are always looking for the harm that was caused.
However, have to show by a preponderance of evidence that have met the requirements.
Preponderance – 50.1%
Need this for every element of a tort for a prima facie case
Restatement (Second) of Torts (1965)
§ 8A – Intent -The word “intent” is used throughout the Restatement of this Subject to denote that the actor desires to cause consequences of his act, or that he believes that the consequences are substantially certain to result from it.
Single Intent Jurisdiction
Garratt v. Dailey
Facts: 5 yr old child pulled chair from under elderly woman.
Rule: Under majority rule, intent to commit an intentional tort must involve a desire to cause the consequences or a substantial certainty that they will occur.
Snyder v. Turk
Facts: Doctor operating – nurse face into wound.
Rule: Offensive contact is defined as contact that would offend a reasonable person’s dignity and intent does not have to be expressly manifested if the facts evidence that by the actions of the Δ, a reasonable person would have know that the contact was offensive.
Mental capacity does not protect a defendant:
However, must still show that plaintiff had intent – Typically the formation of intent is not related to age, but instead to the ability (or inability) to form a conscious purpose.
White v. Muniz
Facts: resident of nursing home punched a nurse.
Rule: In a dual intent jurisdiction, the P must prove that, regardless of the characteristics of the Δ (infancy or insanity), the Δ desired to cause harmful or offensive contact, but does not have to prove that the Δ intended the actual harm that was caused.
Particular v. General Intent
Policy decision – keeps coming up.
Shaw v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
Facts: Smoker shared a truck w/ a co-worker. Second-hand smoke injury – sued manufacturer for lung cancer.
Rule: The P must show that the Δ was substantially certain that the consequences would occur to the specific Δ or a group of Δs. Rule: in this case, the court held that a manufacturer can not be held liable for general results of the use of its product that can not be specifically foreseen (specific v. general intent). (policy decision)
One of 5 torts that was originally a writ of trespass.
Defined in class – can transfer intent from one plaintiff to another or from one tort to another
5 Torts qualify for Transferred Intent
Trespass to Chattels (even though conversion is similar – can’t transfer)
Trespass to Land
Does not include IIED or Conversion
Definition: “occurs when the defendant’s acts intentionally cause harmful or offensive contact with the victim’s person.”
Protects a person from unwanted bodily contact
Restatement (Second) of Torts
§ 13 – Battery: Harmful Contact – An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if
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
A harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results
§ 18 – Battery: Off
Fear vs. Apprehension – The apprehension need not go so far as to produce fear in the victim.
Imminent Harmful or Offensive Contact
Apprehension of contact must be imminent – according to Restatement – no significant delay
Dickens v. Puryear gives a good overview
Facts: Group of men threatened the P physically. Told him that if he didn’t leave the state would hunt him down and kill him.
Rule: Words are not sufficient to constitute assault, unless the context of all other actions, they do cause reasonable apprehension of. Threats for assault must be imminent, and threats for the future are possibly actionable under IIED.
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 31 – words -Words do not make the actor liable for assault unless together with other acts or circumstances they put the other in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with his person.
Conditional Assault: even if the assault is conditioned on action (meeting a demand) of the victim, an assault still occurs
Holloway v. Wachovia
Facts: Repo car. No assault on baby but via transferred intent on those in backseat.
Rule: The P must be apprehensive of the imminent harmful or offensive contact, so if the P is not aware that the contact is possible or can not form a rational thought in order to be aware, assault does not exist.The intent to cause harmful or offensive contact (or the apprehension thereof) to one party can transfer to a third party if the other elements of the tort exist (contact or apprehension of contact occurs).