Business 20Law 20Chapter 205

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Business 20Law 20Chapter 205 Powered By Docstoc
					     Business Law


      Chapter 5
Torts and Cyber Torts
          Objectives
State the purpose of tort law
Explain how torts and crimes
differ
Identify intentional torts against
persons
           Objectives
Name the four elements of
negligence
Define strict liability, and list
circumstances in which it will be
applied*
            Tort
A civil wrong not arising from a
breach of contract.
A breach of a legal duty that
proximately causes harm or
injury to another.
             Tort
Through tort law, society
compensates those who have
suffered injuries as a result of
the wrongful conduct of others.
Remedies for acts that:
Cause physical injury
Interfere with physical security
Freedom of movement
Destruction or damage to
property
     Crime vs. Tort
Crime – a wrong against society
as a whole, as well as the
individual victim
The state prosecutes and
punishes persons who commit
criminal acts
      Crime vs. Tort
Tort – a civil action in which
one person brings a personal
suit against another to obtain
compensation (damages) or
other relief for the harm
suffered.
    Intentional Torts
Require intent
Tortfeasor – the one committing
the tort
Consequences of which interfere
with the interests of another in a
way not permitted by law
    Against Persons
Assault and Battery
False Imprisonment
Defamation
Invasion of the Right to Privacy
Misrepresentation
Wrongful Interference
  Assault and Battery
Assault – any word or action
intended to make another
person apprehensive or fearful
of immediate physical harm
Battery – the unprivileged,
intentional touching of another
        Defenses
Reasons why plaintiffs
should not obtain what they
are seeking
Defenses to Assault and Battery
Consent
Self-defense (real or apparent
danger)
Defense of others
Defense of property (excessive
force not permitted)
 False Imprisonment
Intentional confinement or
restraint of another person
without justification
Physical barriers, physical
restraint, threats of physical
force
        Defenses
Probable cause – when the
evidence to support the belief
that a person is guilty
outweighs the evidence against
that belief
        Defamation
Anything published or publicly
spoken that causes injury to
another’s good name, reputation,
or character
False statements about a person’s
product, business, or title to
property
     Defamation
Slander – oral
Libel – in writing
        Defamation
Torts per se (no proof required)
 Loathsome communicable disease
 Committed improprieties while
 engaging in a profession or trade
 Committed or has been imprisoned
 for a serious crime
 An unmarried woman is unchaste
       Defamation
Publication requirement: the
statement is communicated to a
person other than the defamed
party.
 Dictating a letter
 Overhear statement by chance
 Internet
         Defenses
Truth
Privilege (attorneys and judges,
public figures)
Actual malice – with either
knowledge of falsity or a
reckless disregard for the truth
  Invasion of Privacy
Use of a person’s name, picture, or
likeness for commercial purposes
without permission (appropriation)
Intrusion in an individual’s affairs
or seclusion in an area in which the
person can expect privacy
  Invasion of Privacy
Publication of information that
places a person in a false light
Public disclosure of private
facts that an ordinary person
would find objectionable
Misrepresentation (Fraud)
Leads another to believe in a
condition that is different from
a condition that actually exists
Intentional deceit for personal
gain
Misrepresentation (Fraud)
Knowledge of falsity or with reckless
disregard for the truth
Intent to induce reliance
Justifiable reliance by the deceived
party
Damages suffered
Causal connection between fraud and
injury
Misrepresentation (Fraud)
Puffery (seller’s talk) – a
salesperson’s often exaggerated
claims concerning the quality of
property offered for sale
 Opinion rather than fact
 Subjective
         Business Torts
Torts occurring within the business
context
Wrongful interference with another’s
business rights
When does zealous competition cross
over into tortious interference?
   Wrongful Interference

With a contractual
relationship
With a business
relationship
   Contractual Relationship
A valid, enforceable contract must
exist between two parties
A third party must know that this
contract exists
The third party must intentionally
cause either of the two parties to break
the contract
    Business Relationship
Forbidden by the courts to interfere
unreasonably in another’s business
in order to gain a share of the
market
Competition vs. predatory
behavior
Unfair trade practice
           Defenses

Justification
  Legitimate competitive behavior
   Against Property
Trespass to land (real
property)
Trespass to personal property
Conversion
Disparagement of Property
  Trespass to Land
The entry onto, above, or
below the surface of land
owned by another without
the owner’s permission
  Trespass to Land
Walking or driving on the land
Shooting a gun over the land
Throwing rocks at buildings
Placing part of one’s building
on an adjoining landowner’s
property
  Trespass to Land
Generally, trespasser is liable
for damage caused
Generally, cannot hold owner
liable for injuries sustained on
the premises
“Reasonable duty”
       Defenses
Trespass is warranted (to
assist someone in danger)
Purported owner did not
actually have the right to
possess the land
Trespass to Personal Property
Unlawfully harms the personal
property of another or otherwise
interferes with the owner’s right to
exclusive possession and
enjoyment of that property
          Defenses
Artisan’s lien
 Ex. Automobile repair shop can
 hold a customer’s car if the
 customer refuses to pay for
 repairs already completed
       Conversion
The wrongful taking, using, or
retaining possession of personal
property that belongs to
another.
 Taking – trespass
 Keeping – conversion
        Conversion
Civil side of theft
Defenses
 Purported owner does not have
 right to possess
 Necessity
 Disparagement of Property
Economically injurious falsehoods
made about another’s product or
property
Slander of quality
Slander of title
       Slander of Quality
Publication of false information
about another’s product, alleging it
is not what its seller claims
Trade libel
Must prove actual damages
         Slander of Title
Publication of a statement that denies
or casts doubts upon another’s legal
ownership of any property, causing
financial loss to that property’s owner
Intent of discouraging a third person
from dealing with the person slandered
  Unintentional Torts
Negligence – the failure to exercise
the standard of care that a
reasonable person would exercise
in similar circumstances
“duty of care”
Risk created
      Four Questions
Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the
plaintiff?
Did the defendant breach that duty?
Did the plaintiff suffer a legally
recognizable injury as a result of the
breach?
Did the defendant’s breach cause the
injury?
Duty of Care and Its Breach
The duty of all persons to exercise a
reasonable amount of care in their
dealings with others.
  An act
  An omission
  Intentional, careless or carefully
  performed
     Reasonable Person
Society’s judgment on how
people should act
To be careful, conscientious,
even tempered, and honest
    Duty of Landowners
Exercise reasonable care to protect
from harm persons coming onto their
property
Protect tenants from harm in common
areas, such as stairways
     Duty of Landowners
Business Invitees – customers or
clients who are invited onto business
premises by the owner for business
purposes
Invitation may be explicit or implicit
   Duty of Professionals
Higher standard due to their
standard minimum level of
special knowledge and ability
Doctors, architects,
accountants, and others
    Injury Requirement
Plaintiff must suffer a legally
recognizable injury
Some loss, harm, wrong, or
invasion of a protected interest
        Causation
The wrongful activity must
have caused the harm for a
tort to have been committed
             Causation
Causation in fact – “but for” the
wrongful act, the injury would not
have occurred
Proximate cause – the connection is
strong enough to justify imposing
liability
  Foreseeability
            Defenses
Assumption of Risk
 Knowledge of the risk
 Voluntary assumption of the risk
Comparative Negligence
 Both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s
 negligence is computed and the liability
 distributed accordingly
       Strict Liability
Liability without fault
Extreme risk of the activity,
even if performed with
reasonable care
Product liability
      Cyber Torts
Torts committed in cyberspace
Who is liable for defamatory
messages posted online
Proof of identity
  Defamation Online
Liability of Internet Service
Providers
 Communications Decency Act of
 1996 – ISPs not liable
 Under court order, ISPs may
 reveal identity of customers
           Spam
Bulk, unsolicited, commercial
e-mail (“junk” e-mail)
Some states prohibit or regulate

				
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