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Wayne State University Law School
Calkins, Stephen

Torts Outline:
Intentional Torts:
INTENT—Restatement definition:

The person has the purpose of producing the consequence
The person knows to a substantial certainty that the consequence will ensue from their conduct

RECKLESSNESS:–Restatement definition:

The person knows facts that would make the risk obvious to anyone in that situation
The precaution that would eliminate the risk involves a very slight burden relative to the magnitude of the risk as to render the person’s failure to adopt precaution a demonstration of the person’s indifference to the risk

Vosburg v. Putney:

Plaintiff brought suit against the defendant for an injury sustained by him when the defendant kicked him below the knee in school (plaintiff was 14, and defendant 11)
The issue was: can the plaintiff have a cause of action under battery even if the jury found that the defendant did not intend to harm the plaintiff?
The court used the rule, if the intended act is unlawful, the intention to commit it must necessarily be unlawful
So since the kicking of the plaintiff by the defendant was unlawful so was the intent to do so
However the court reasoned if this action had occurred on the playground and not in the class room, the court would have ruled differently since the defendant would have been performing usual boyish activities and had no intent to harm the plaintiff.

Beauchamp v. Dow Chemical:

Man sues employer for exposing him to agent orange
Substantial certainty v. True intentional torts standard?
Intentional torts are not limited to the consequences that are desired, if the actor knows that the consequences are certain or substantially certain to happen, the law treats it as of the person had intended that result

The court remanded this back to trial court for a decision consistent with its findings
(Note to self, If you intend or are reckless in causing somebody harm then you are responsible for the result even if the result was unintended)

Battery and Assault:
BATTERY- an act which, directly or indirectly, is the legal cause of a harmful contact with another’s person makes the actor liable to the other, if
(a) The act is done with the intention of bringing about a harmful or offensive contact or the an apprehension thereof to the other or a third person and
(b) The contact is not consented to by the other or the other’s consent thereto is procured by fraud or duress, and
(c) The contact is not otherwise privileged
ASSAULT- Imminent fear of immediate harm


nued to perform on his patients even after he knew he was HIV+
For bodily contact to be considered offensive, it must offend a reasonable sense of personal dignity
The court adopted an actual exposure test which requires a plaintiff to show “actual exposure” to a disease causing agent as a prerequisite to prevail on a claim based upon fear of contracting disease
Something can be offensive if you find it out later


Defendant beat the plaintiff and told him to leave the state or he would kill him
He sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress
To be an assault it has to be an imminent fear of immediate harm—the threat here was not imminent: it was a threat for the future. The action here is intentional infliction of emotional distress

Transferred Intent:
If defendant unlawfully aims at one person and hits another he is guilty of assault and battery on the party he hit, the injury being the direct, natural and probable consequence of the wrongful act