THE LAW OF TORTS
·Definition: A civil or private wrong, which is legally enforceable.
·Torts are often associated w/ harm to person, integrity, property.
·Purpose: to compensate π for unreasonable harm.
·3 categories of tort law based on nature of D’s conduct:
1) Intentional torts 2) Negligence ie carelessness 3) Strict Liability
Case of Thorns – man trespasses on other man’s field to gather trimmed thorns. π
– shows early tradition of strict liability
Weaver v. Ward – soldier shoots another during training. π
– issue: Is D guilty if injury was unintended and as a result of abnormal
circumstance ie military training?
– liability automatic except if a) D w/out fault b) inevitable.
– shows strict liability beginning to weaken; negligence entering.
– burden of proof for showing pure accident still on D however.
Brown v. Kendall – 2 dogs fighting, D attempts to separate and wounds π. D
– Issue: Is D guilty if injury was unintended?
– If lawful act and unintentional ÙD is not liable unless w/out due care.
– inevitable = result that D could not have avoided by use of ordinary care.
– burden of proving fault now on π.
Nota Bene (NB) – Strict Liability (liability w/out fault) vs. Liability w/ fault vs.
the middle ground – Liability w/ ordinary care.
· 7 intentional torts can be separated into those committed against person and property.
· 4 intentional torts against person =
Battery, Assault, False Imprisonment, Infliction of Emotional Distress.
· 3 intentional torts against property =
Trespass to Land, Trespass to Chattels, Conversion.
Restat 3d Definition: A person acts w/ the intent to produce a consequence if:
a) The person has the purpose of producing that consequence; or
b) The person knows to a substantial certainty that the consequence will ensue from
Vosburg v. Putney – D kicks π in wounded leg while in school. π
– Issue: Is D guilty if act was intended but resulting harm was unintended?
– if intended act is unlawful Ù the intention to commit it must necessarily
– The wrongdoer is liable for all consequences resulting from the
intended act, even if they are unintended, not substantially certain or
held, a hat, one’s horse.
·Battery can be indirect eg ordering one’s dog to attack someone.
·Assault: intentional putting of another in imminent apprehension of harmful or offensive
contact. Restat 2d
·Many states hold principle that words alone are not sufficient to constitute assault.
·Infliction of Emotional Distress: threat of future injury/contact
Garratt v. Dailey – Boy moves chair out from under older woman. π/remand
– Issue: Is D guilty of battery if he did not intend harm, but may know it
was substantially certain?
– substantial certainty (as in Restat def) qualifies as intent.
– harmful contact here btwn π and ground, not btwn D and π.
Masters v. Becker – While playing, D pries π’s fingers away until she falls.
– To recover damages, one only has to prove that there was bodily contact,
that it was offensive, and that the defendant intended to make the contact.