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Torts
Villanova University School of Law
Moreland, Michael P.

Moreland- Torts Outline- Fall 2009
I.                   Intentional Torts
A.    Battery
                                                            1.      Prima Facie
a.       D acts
b.      Intent to Cause a Contact
c.       Harmful or Offensive Contact
d.      Causation
                                                            2.      Nelson v. Carroll- defendant meant to pistol whip plaintiff, but instead gun fired and plaintiff was shot
a.       “It is enough that the defendant sets a force in motion which ultimately produces the result”
b.      “Intent requires not a specific desire to bring about a certain result, but rather a general intent to unlawfully invade another’s physical well-being.”
                                                            3.      Wagner v. State- mentally handicapped man attacked woman
a.       “Intent to act so as to cause contact with plaintiff” (intent to injure is not necessary)
                                                            4.      Spivey- intent to cause specific harm that resulted (very high test)
                                                            5.      Paul v. Holbrook- offensiveness element depends on the nature and circumstances of the act
                                                            6.      How to Establish Intent
a.       Actor acted with purpose
b.      Actor acted with substantially certain knowledge that the consequence would come about as a result of the act
B.     Assault
                                                            1.      Prima Facie
a.       D acts
b.      Intending to Cause Apprehension through
c.       Imminent harmful or offensive contact
d.      Causes P reasonably to apprehend such a contact
                                                            2.      Brooker v. Silverthorne- man yelled at operator over the phone
a.       “A menace alone, without a consequence inconvenience makes not the injury…must be both of them together.”
b.      Words alone aren’t a threat. They must be combined with other acts or circumstances that cause apprehension.
c.       Plaintiff doesn’t need to be fearful of the harm. Can prove she was aware and that’s enough to win, though damages may be small without fear.
                                                            3.      Vetter v. Morgan- people in van yelled at woman in car at a stoplight
a.       Defendant’s words and actions were such that they produced reasonable apprehension of imminent harm
C.     Defenses to Intentional Torts
                                                            1.      Consent
a.       Koffman v. Garnett- football coach tackled young boy
                                                                                                           i.      Scope of Consent- Parents and boy consented to football, but not tackling by grown man.
b.      O’Brien v. Cunard- immigrant suffered adverse reaction to shot
i.        Court said standing in line and holding out arm were forms of consent
ii.       Liability on defendant is barred if, on the basis of the plaintiff’s conduct, the defendant actually and reasonably believed that consent was given
                                                            2.      Defense of Self and Others- response must be reasonable and proportionate
a.       Haeussler v. De Loretto- man punched another man on his doorstep
                                                                                                           i.      “One who is involved in an altercation with another has the right to use such force as is necessary to protect himself from bodily injury.”
b.      Can’t claim self-defense in mere instances of provocation or teasing, BUT in certain situations provocation by the plaintiff can lead to lessened damages (like comparative fault coming in the backdoor)
                                                            3.      Defense of Property
a.       Katko v. Briney- people set mechanical gun to shoot man
                                                                                                           i.      “Possessor of land may not arrange his premises intentionally so as to cause death or serious bodily harm to a trespasser.”
                                                            4.      Comparative Fault NOT a Defense- not in intentional torts; can’t say “they had it coming”
D.    Unintended Consequences
                                                            1.      Vosburg v. Putney- boy kicked classmate and leg fell off
a.       “The wrongdoer is liable for all injuries resulting directly from the wrongful act, whether they could or could not have been foreseen by him.”
b.      Eggshell Skull- The defendant takes the plaintiff as he finds him.
E.     Transferred Inten

seeable harm
                                                            2.      Affirmative Duties
a.       General Rule- No liability for failing to act (nonfeasance)
b.      Exceptions
i.        If defendant had some hand in placing plaintiff at risk of harm, then defendant may incur duty to warn, protect, or rescue
ii.      Voluntary duty to warn, protect, or rescue
iii.    Defendant’s acts cause harm to plaintiff, even if the act was not wrongful; ex. leaving car crash victim
iv.    Pre-tort relationships:
1.      parent-child
2.      common carrier-passenger
3.      business owner-invitee
4.      friend-friend on a joint social venture (Farwell)
c.       Osterlind v. Hill- canoe owner owed no duty to rescue people who rented canoe and were drowning
i.        Plaintiff might be able to prove duty if claimed that defendant placed him in the dangerous position
d.      Baker v. Taco Bell- man slipped and started to seize in Taco Bell, defendant had duty to act because of business owner/customer relationship
i.        “The storeowner, who is deriving economic benefit from the presence of the customer should assume the affirmative duty.”
e.       LS Ayres- though not liable for initial injury, defendant was liable for aggravation of injuries for failing to stop escalator
i.        The instrumentality was in the possession of the defendant who did not act
f.       Jones v. State- “Duty to one in peril on the defendant’s premises as an invitee even though the peril was created without negligence on the part of the defendant.”
g.      Policy Consideration- Impossible to draw line between duty to rescue and general duty of beneficence
                                                            3.      Premises Liability
a.       Generally
i.        Deals with condition of the property and NOT risky activities that happen on the land but have little or nothing to do with the condition of the premises