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Torts
Villanova University School of Law
Wertheimer, Ellen

I. INTRODUCTION
 
Theory of Liability
1. No man may be excused of a tort unless he is without fault
-accident is no excuse
-(e.g. Weaver v. Ward, D pulled the trigger and did not intend to hit P but is responsible nonetheless; injury occurred, who caused it must be liable unless he is of NO fault
-When D is acting reasonable and non-negligent, liability cannot be imposed
-no liability with two innocent (non-negligent) parties
-(Hammontree v. Jenner driver with seizure hits P in store, did not know seizure was risk so no liability)
 
2. Strict Liability
-With two innocent parties, only balance can be when one causing accident has to pay for cost of their abnormally dangerous activity; D has to weight cost/benefit of action
-Langan v. Valicopters, Inc D had to pay for damage done by aerial spraying b/c activity was dangerous even if no intention
-P needed to prove:
1. they had organic farm
2. farm was sprayed by pesticides by D (cause)
3. farm was damaged by pestiticide (injury)
 
 
 
Standard of Care (negligence)
-When there is accident and D is acting with ordinary care, reasonable person (standard of care), burden of proof is on P; no evidence, P loses
-(Brown v. Kendall hit by stick in dog fight)
-If tort is intentional then the standard of care is different
 
II. INTENTIONAL TORTS
 
INTENT IN GENERAL
 
-Proving:
To prove intent, it must be shown that actor had knowledge of act’s consequences (consequence would occur or purpose of act is consequence)
-Garratt v. Daly (boy pulls chair out from sitter, ct. rules it must be shown that boy knew fall would result)
 
-Context:
conduct, even if it causes harm, is mitigated by environment (crowded world scenario) where individual should expect some contact
-Wallace v. Rosen (teacher not guilty of battery because contact was b/c of fire drill)
 
-Required Intent:
Intent required is the intent to do unlawful act (e.g. unconsented to contact)
-D is liable for all consequences of intentional tort, foreseeable or not
-Vosburg v. Putney: boy kicks other’s shin, serious injury, ct. finds him liable b/c initial act was intended to harm (invade other’s interest) even though no intent to injure
 
-Transferred Intent:
Liable for injury to mistake victim just as you would be if act done to intended victim
-Keel v. Hainline: eraser thrown hits other by mistake, D still responsible for injuries as he intended to make unlawful contact
 
-Consent:
You can never consent to illegal act (unlawful contact), but you can consent to legal act and actor will not be liable then
 
BATTERY
 
-Definition:
To be liable for battery the defendant must have done some intentional act intended to cause an unconsented to contact
-unlawful contact done without consent is battery
-Mink v. University of Chicago: administration of DES drug was unlawful contact done without consent and therefore was battery
 
-Type of contact required:
Contact does not have to be to person
-Intentional, unconsented to physical contact done in an offensive manner of anything connected to person’s body constitutes battery
­-Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc.: D removing plate from P’s hand in offensive manner = battery
 
 
-Joking/Mistake Contact
Horseplay act causing contact deemed offensive is a battery even if it is a joke; act being stupid no defense; battery unintended to cause harm is still battery
-unconsented to contact à D responsible for all resulting injuries
-Lambertson v. United States: D as joke jumps on P’s back pushing him into meat hook à battery
 
ASSAULT
 
-Definition:
Intentional act intended to and causing reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact with person
-fear not necessary, just awareness
-for writing to qualify it has to be present with an act or circumstance constituting assault
-Conley v. Doe: student writes h

pany of Colorad v. Van Wyk
 
Nuisance
 
-Definition: Nuisance is an indirect intrusion onto another’s property affecting the interest in use and enjoyment of property; no substantial damage or it is trespass
-e.g. if polluting substance causes P cdiscomfort in use of property, it is nuisance; if it does that and causes substantial damage it is trespass
 
66 JH Borland v. Sanders Lead
 
Trespass to Chattels
 
-Definition: intentional trespass intended to cause disruption of enjoyment of P’s movable property (anything not real estate); concerned only with damage to property
-e.g. Logging company case where P’s protested and shut down equipment causing disturbance of use
 
-How is it different from conversion?
-conversion causes irreversible damage; can’t get back converted property
-remedy for conversion is full price replace, for tres. to chattels it is compensatory
 
71 Huffman & Wright Logging Co. v. Ware
 
CONVERSION
 
-Definition: intentional exercise of control over chattel resulting in destruction or material alteration and so severely interfering with possessor’s right that D required to pay full value as remedy
-e.g. taking my fish and eating it (doesn’t matter if you’re public official, btw)
 
-dissemination of information (removing, copying, dispersing then returning documents, e.g.) not conversion unless it is property or valued on open market
-e.g. newspaper copying senator’s documents then returning; not conversion b/c not senator’s property; just because dissemination hurt senator /= conversion.