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Torts
Wayne State University Law School
Ackerman, Bob

Torts
Wayne State University
Bob Ackerman
Fall 2017
 
Intentional Torts
The prima facie case
Battery – intentional, unconsented-to contact.
 
Elements of battery: 1) intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact, and
                                        2) harmful or offensive
                                            (a. contact which is offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity)
                                        3) contact results.
 
Snyder v. Turk – doctor grabbing nurse’s shoulder, shoving her face to toward surgical opening reasonably could be offensive contact
 
Cohen v. Smith – contact (seeing and touching) in violation of known religious beliefs. P only consented to procedure under specific conditions. Conditions violated. Had she known her conditions wouldn’t be met, she would’ve had the opportunity to refuse the procedure.
 
Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel – Manager grabbing plate from Fisher and stating “negroes can’t be served here” sufficient for a battery claim – “as clear an invasion of his person as would be an actual contact with the body.”
 
Intent – intent to produce a consequence is either “purpose of producing consequence” or “knowing that the consequence is substantially certain to result” (Rest. 3d)
Single – Intent to make contact, contact occurs
 
Dual – Intent to make contact, intent that the contact be harmful or offensive, and contact occurs
 
Transferred – batt. or ass/batt. may be comm although the person hit or struck is not the one who P intended to hit or strike
 
Garratt v. Dailey – substantial certainty test. Aka D must know w/subs certainty that P would attempt to sit down. Age relevant so far as establishing knowledge – experience, capacity, and understanding all relevant factors.
 
White v. Muniz – D, in nursing home, struck P, caregiver of nursing home. Applies dual intent, forcing P to establish that D as an Alzheimer’s patient appreciated the offensiveness of the contact.
 
Wagner v. State – D, mentally disabled, attacked P. Liable because he intended to make contact – no need to intend harm or offense through contact.
 
Baska v. Scherzer – P broke up fight between Ds and was punched in the mouth. Liable under transferred intent.
Assault – constitutes a touching of the mind, if not the body
 
Elements of assault: 1) intent to cause harmful or offensive contact or
                                        2) imminent apprehension of such contact when
                                          3) such apprehension would be aroused in the mind of
a) a reasonable person or
b) P if the claim stems primarily from D’s words and
4) when apprehension means an awareness of an imminent touching that would be     battery if completed and
5) imminent means conduct will occur without significant delay
 
Expounding on Assault: a) Words Alone Rule – WA typically not sufficient to establish reasonable  
                                                    apprehension of immediate touching.
      b) Words Negating Assault – Words indicating an intent not to commit a battery
           may negate an assault claim as they can make it less reasonable to apprehend
           immediate touching.
 
Cullison v. Medley – pervy P invites 16 yo D back to his place. The D fam comes to his place, makes verbal threats, dad has gun, gestures to it repeatedly, grabs it and shakes it – though never takes it out.  Sufficient to establish an assault claim.
 
False Imprisonment
 
Elements of false imprisonment: 1) intent to confine and
                                                                     2) actual confinement of another
                                                                     3) within a limited area and
                                                                     4) for any appreciable time, however short
                                                                   5) without consent or lawful privilege and
                                                                     6) the victim is either conscious of the confinement or
                                                                     7) sustained actual harm as a result
 
Expounding on FI:  1) Non-physical barriers include a) demands and threats, implicit and explicit, b) false assertion of legal authority, c) duress of goods
                                        2) Consider whether P had a safe and reasonable means of escape
 
McCann v. Wal-Mart Stores – Woman and children detained at Wal-Mart after employees mistakenly identified her children as previous thieves. Employees said the police were being called, P had to go with her. Were allowed to leave after more than an hour.
 
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
 
Elements of IIED: 1) an actor who, by extreme and outrageous conduct
                      2) intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional harm to another
 
Elements of extreme and outrageous conduct: 1) conduct that goes beyond all possible bounds

entry is unintentional and
                                                                           the defendant refuses to leave. The refusal becomes trespass.
        3) Distinguishable from nuisance, which interferes with use/enjoyment 
      of land rather than the exclusive possession of land. Nuisance
      includes intangible intrusions like noise, odor, and light.
                                                                    4) Injunctive relief remedy
 
Conversion
 
Elements of conversion: 1) intent to exercise substantial dominion over the chattel (though intent to
  convert not required)
 
Factors of substantial dominion: a) extent and duration of control
         b) D’s intent to assert a right to the property
  c) D’s good faith
  d) the harm done, and
  e) expense or inconvenience caused
 
Expounding on conversion: 1) Some intangible property like shares of stock or bonds and certain other
        documents as well as data “standing alone and not deemed a trade secret”)
                                                            2) A person who buys converted chattel is also guilty of conversion, even if
  the item was bought in good faith.
                                                            3) If D tricks P into selling them the chattel, then D isn’t liable for conversion
 
Trespass to Chattel
 
Elements of trespass to chattel: 1) intent to interfere, without justification or consent, with the use and
            enjoyment of personal property in the possession of another and
       2) harm to the owner’s materially valuable interest in the a) physical 
            condition, b) quality, or c) value of the chattel OR
       3) if the owner is deprived of use of the chattel for a substantial time
 
School of Visual Arts v. Kuprewicz – Former employee of the school spammed the school email with porn and job applications, depleting hard drive space and depleting processing power. Sufficient for trespass to chattel claim.