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Torts
Villanova University School of Law
Carluzzo, Matthew

TORTS CARLUZZO FALL 2016

Torts: Wrongs recognized by law as grounds for a law suit with harms required

*PURPOSE OF TORTS*

INTRODUCTION TO TORTS

THE ROLE OF FAULT

SIGNIFICANT CASES

VAN CAMP v. MCAFOOS – Three-year old runs tricycle into woman’s leg

Pl. needs to allege fault to recover for tort claim and because pl. did not allege any fault against the child, that it had fault / knowledge that the child was negligent therefore there was no claim

DAMAGES

Start with causal apportionment of the fault, if there is a clear cut “you did this, you did this”

then, if no clear line, fault apportionment asks jury to put percentages on the fault of each def.

Joint liability – defs share liability among themselves

Several liability (individual) – individually liable for damages and pay based on liability percentage of fault

Only responsible for that amount
If one or both cannot pay, pl. bears loss

Joint and several – each def. liable to pl. for entire amount but pl. can only recover 100% of judgment from either

If pl. recovers 100% from one def., that def. can sue other def. for their portion of damages amount à contribution

If that def. cannot pay, the def. who paid the settlement originally is out of luck

Types of damages:

Compensatory damages include:

Medical (past and future)
Lost wages
Pain and suffering
Lost earning capacity
Other

Property

Punitive damages:

Must act with malice, or at least wanton or reckless disregard for the right of others
Gore factors to determine if conduct rises to punitive damages level

The degree of reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct;*
Most important
The ratio to the compensatory damages awarded (actual or potential harm inflicted on the plaintiff); and

Comparison of the punitive damages award and civil or criminal penalties that could be imposed for comparable misconduct.

Nominal damages

Only for intentional torts
Small amount of money 6 cents to $1 usually

DILLON v. FRAZER – Car accident damages with jury returning award lower than cost of medical bills aka undisputed damages, even with additur of judge

If def. is liable and jury returns an unreasonably low or high damage award, case may be remanded for new trial after pl. has proven he is entitled to compensatory damages

Priority for pl. to be whole again, therefore the court will more likely rule in favor of the pl. receiving damages for injury

Collateral source r

ntention to harm / actual intent, turn to substantial certainty

Dual intent à potential negative effect on recovery for pl. because “non-offensive” butt pat def. can get away with it because it is intended to flatter and not be harmful / offensive

Single intent resolves this problem but creates non-offensive touch situation of “death spot”

Single intent:

That the defendant acted with the intent to cause a contact with the person of another AND
A harmful or offensive contact with the person of another directly or

indirectly resulted

Dual intent:

That the defendant acted with the 1. intent to cause a 2. harmful or offensive contact with the person of another AND
A harmful or offensive contact with the person of another directly or indirectly resulted.

Transferred intent

Intentional tort of battery may be committed although the person struck or hit by the def. is not the person who the def. intended to hit thus transferring the intent from the original person to another