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Torts
Villanova University School of Law
Brogan, Doris DelTosto

Torts Outline
Brogan – Fall 2016
 
INTENTIONAL TORTS: Defendant acted with intent to accomplish a certain kind of consequence OR with actual knowledge that such a consequence that such a consequence would come about
Battery
Assault
False imprisonment
IIED
 
BATTERY: infliction of a harmful OR offensive contact by an actor upon another with the intent to cause such contact
Wrongfulness of battery lies in purposeful touchingà the intentional invasion of P’s personal space
Requires actual touching of the victim (direct or indirect)
 
Battery Prima Facie Case:  Actor A is subject to liability to other person P for battery if:
A acts,
intending to cause a contact with P;
the contact with P that A intends is of a harmful or offensive type; and
A’s act causes P to suffer a contact that is harmful or offensive.
 
Further breakdown of elements:
D Acts,
Intending to cause
Intent:
 
RULE: D does not need to intend the harm, D must intend only the contact that constitutes battery (harmful/offensive)
 
 
 
 
 
1. [Vosburg v. Putney] – Only intent necessary is intent for offensive contact!
< >Eggshell Skull Rule: wrongdoer is liable for all injuries resulting directly from the wrongful act, whether they could or could not have been foreseen by him; defendant takes the plaintiff as he finds himD just has to repair P to condition before contact (does not need to make whole) If you exacerbate a pre-existing condition, you are liable! What made contact offensive was that it occurred in classroom; situation would be different if this occurred on the playground 
 
2. [Cole v. Hibberd] –
 
P sustains injuries form D’s contact while the two are horsing around. In testimony, P says that D did not intend for contact to cause harm and that tort should be classified as negligence (because SOL had expired for battery). Appellate court ruled that contact was battery. D’s actions were for the purpose of having offensive contact, they were not careless.
< >Rule: intentional nature of the contact with the plaintiff that controls definition of intent, not the intent to cause actual harm or injury 
 
      3. [Wagner v. State] –
 
Wagners’ suit sought recovery for injuries Mrs. Wagner sustained when a mentally handicapped man attacked her while he was in the custody of state employees. D argues for battery because then he would be covered by sovereign immunity.
Plaintiff argues that he was so mentally incompetent that he could not have known/realized that contact was harmful or offensive. Black letter law states that mental handicap in it of itself does not prevent you from requisite intent. Battery does not need a guilty mind, just an intent to make contact that the law forbids.
 
< >Rule: Only intent to make contact is necessary for battery as long as he deliberately made the contact and that contact was harmful and offensive 
 
< >Intent & Knowledge of Substantial Certainty:
 
RULE: In order that an act may be done with the intention of bringing about a harmful or offensive contact to a particular person, the act must be done for the purpose of causing the contact OR with knowledge on the part of the actor that such contact is substantially certain to be produced (Restatement (First) of Torts)
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. [Garratt v. Dailey] –
                       
6 year old D pulled a chair out from under his aunt, P. D claimed that he moved the chair before realizing that his aunt was sitting down. When he did realize, he tried to move it back under her. Upon remand, trial court found that D was “substantially certain” that his aunt would fall as a result of moving the chair, and therefore imposed liability
 
2. [Knowledge- Subjective Standard] –
 
Restatement (Third) of Torts: “a mere showing that harm is substantially certain to result from the actor’s conduct is not sufficient to prove intent; it must also be shown that that actor is aware of this”
 
3. [Knowledge versus Foresight]  
Plaintiff must establish that the defendant actually knew that his actions would cause such contact. Must have knowledge of an outcome, not foresight, to satisfy the intent element.
Knowledge of an outcome is sufficient, not necessary to satisfy the intent element.
 
< >Harmful or offensive contact with another Direct Contact- Flesh to Flesh  
 
< >[Cecarelli v. Maher]: P suffered severe and painful beating from D, which caused substantial harm – contact was unprovoked[Paul v. Holbrook]: See harmful/offensive 
 
< >Indirect Contact – shootings, intentional dog attacks, toxins, etc.
RULE: Battery can be established by contact with “anything so connected with the body as to be customarily regarded as part of the other’s person

rmful or offensive contact with P; and A’s act causes P to reasonably apprehend such a contactFurther break down of elements:
 
< >A acts, Intending to cause P the apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with P; and  
 
< >[Beach v. Hancock] – here, defendant didn’t intend bodily harm 
 
D aimed a gun at P in a threatening manner. D snapped the gun twice at P and P did not know whether the gun was loaded or not. D was guilty of assault regardless of whether the gun was loaded or not because he intended to cause fear in P and P’s fear was reasonable. The fact that defendant in this case is not capable of delivering on the threat doesn’t matter because plaintiff reasonably apprehended the contact.
 
< >Imminence – threat of harm must be immediate*** IMMINENCE DETERMINED BY CONTEXT
 
 
 
RULE: for a threat to constitute an assault, it must be conveyed in a way that creates a reasonable belief in the hearer that the threatened contact is imminent
 
 
 
 
 
RULE: WORDS ALONE are never enough to constitute assault unless together with other acts/circumstances, they put the other in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with this person
 
 
 
 
 
 
< >[Brooker v. Silverthorne] –  
 
D made threats over the phone to P when she failed to properly connect him to his intended line. Among other things, he said “If I were there, I would break…”; P suffered decline in health due to mental anguish caused by his words. Court ruled that this was not an assault
< >Missing element: IMMINENCE!, no threat of immediate harm when D says “if I were there…” he was not there, and he expressed no intention of going there; this was a conditional threat instead of threat of immediate harmPhysical distance between caller and operator + other factors combined made it so that she could not have reasonably been in fear