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Villanova University School of Law
Weninger, Bob

Chapter 2 – Intentional Torts
I.        General Rule – an intentional tort must show that the actor knew with substantial certainty that the action would invade the interests of another in a way that the law forbids.
A.     P must first prove INTENT (i.e. purpose of knowledge of substantial certainty) – D’s intent measured by his/her acts and not by what the D was thinking at the time of the acts
1.       Intent to do harm is not necessary (i.e. practical jokes)
2.       Mistake and stupidity are NOT defenses. The intent required is just the intent to make unconsented contact
3.       “Crowded-World” Theory – consent is assumed to all ordinary contacts which are customary and reasonably necessary to the common intercourse of life (i.e. tap on shoulder to attract attention) standard – what would a ordinary person think? Other factors to determine if act is unpermitted: i) time ii) place iii) circumstances iv) relationship between parties
4.       The age of child who commits an intentional tort is relevant only as it contributed to the jury’s ability to decided whether he, in fact, INTENDED the results. Some courts treat children under 7 as incapable of possessing intent (Vosburg v. Putney)
B.     Transferred Intent – reflects greater blame which attaches to intentional misconduct
                                                              i.      If A acts with intention to injure B, but at the same time or instead injuries C, his intent to injure “transfers” to C and A is deemed to have committed an intentional tort upon C, even though he was unaware of C’s existence or of any risk of harm to C
1.       Ex: A shoots B but misses and hits C instead; A liable to B and C
                                                           ii.      The intent also transfers between all of the intentional torts – battery, assault, false imprisonment, trespass to land and trespass to chattels – so long as the harm is direct and immediate
1.       Ex: A’s intent to commit only an assault upon B by shooting in his direction to frighten him may support liability for battery to C who is unexpectedly struck by the bullet
C.     Extent of liability and damages – THIN SKULL RULE – the actor is responsible for all the consequences of his act even if they were undesirable or unforeseeable
1.       Ex: A swings a golf club at B’s head but intends to pull up short. In doing so, the head of the
                                                           ii.      A technical battery is defined as a battery in which no or trivial physical injury occurs. Nominal damages should apply to technical battery.
D. Cases:
            Garratt v. Dailey – A child pulls a chair away from aunt who is about to sit down. Remanded to trial to determine the child’s state of mind. Illustrates the need to show substantial certainty when it come to intent.
            Wallace v. Rosen – A teacher touches the shoulders of a visitor toward the exit during a fire drill. Visitor claims the touching was battery. Court ruled that the touching was necessary for the teacher to do her job. Illustrates the “crowded-world” concept.
            Vosburg v. Putney – boy kicked softly in the shin during class. Due to a preexisting bone condition, the force caused severe injuries which actor was liable for. Illustrates the “thin skull” rule.
A.     General Rule – the remedy for an intentional and unpermitted physical contact with P’s person by D
    1. A battery occurs when all of the following elements are proven:
                                             i.            A person intentionally acts (purpose or knowledge of substantial certainty)
                                           ii.            To cause a harmful or offensive conduct contact with another (or third party) OR the imminent apprehension of such a contact, and
                                          iii.            Harmful or offensive contact with the person directly or indirectly 
B.     Analysis and Additional Information
1.       Harmful conduct is defined as:
                                             i.            Any physical impairment of the condition of another’s body
                                                                           i.       Applies to any alteration to another person’s body, even if causes no harm and is in fact beneficial. Ex: patient w/ a limp goes into surgery for his right foot. Doctor sees nothing wrong w/ right foot but notices a problem with left foot. After surgery, limp is gone. Doctor is still liable for a battery (no consent).

ward nominal damages to deter P from suing physicians
10.   One-sided horseplay, leading to injury is battery. Intentional act, though unintentional harm. “in battery, you are responsible for all of the ramifications of your actions” (Lambertson v. U.S.)
C.     Cases:
1.       Mink v. U. of Chicago – Women are given a drug during their prenatal care that eventually causes serious illness and increased risks of cancer in their children. Hospital claims that the claim should be negligence due to lack of informed consent. Court ruled that unauthorized medical procedure was result in a battery. In addition, the administration of the drug was equivalent to offensive contact b/c general right for person to determine what will/will not be done to his/her body.
2.       Fisher v. Carrousel – A black man has his plate snatched out of his hand at a business lunch and was told he could not eat at the establishment. The D never touched to P’s body. The court ruled that the incident was a battery. Illustrates that things so intimately associated with one’s body are to be considered part of the person.
3.       Lambertson v. US – An on-duty meat inspector for Dept. of Agriculture jumps on the back of a man unloading the truck while engaging in horse play. The man fell forward and seriously injured his face. The court held that a “joke” was not a defense in battery.
A.     General Rule – assault is an act which arouses in P a reasonable apprehension of imminent battery
B.     An assault occurs when all the following elements are proven:
1.       A person intentionally acts
2.       To put another in reasonable apprehension
3.       Of an
                                                        i.            Imminent harmful, or
                                                      ii.            Offensive conduct