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					   CHAPTER 4
THE LAW OF TORTS
                        TORT
Book definition: private wrong committed by one person
                     against another

       A funny word:
       In French (where it
       originated) a tort
       means ―to wrong
       someone.‖


Interference with another’s rights either by an intentional
                act or through negligence
 TORT LAW IS PART OF CIVIL (NONCRIMINAL) LAW
 IT CONCERNS LAWSUITS (NOT PROSECUTIONS.)
          TORT
  THINK PERSONAL INJURY


SOMEONE HAS SUFFERED AN
INJURY, WHETHER:
   1. INTENTIONAL ACT
   2. CARELESSNESS
   3. NEGLIGENCE
FIVE AREAS OF TORT LAW


A.   INTENTIONAL
B.   NEGLIGENCE (personal injury)
C.   STRICT LIABILITY (hazardous)
D.   TRUE LEGAL ACCIDENT (no fault)
E.   Others: Nuisance, fraud, invasion of
     privacy, defamation
                 INTENT
(Intentional Tort)
1st area of tort law
1. Must prove INTENT
 to harm someone OR
2. Person (tortfeasor) knew with
  substantial certainty that what they
  were doing would harm someone.
                FYI

IN CRIMINAL LAW, WHEN SOMEONE COMMITS A
      WRONG, THE ACTION IS CALLED A
                CRIME


 IN CIVIL LAW, WHEN SOMEONE COMMITS A
     WRONG, THE ACTION IS CALLED A
                 TORT
                            Intentional Tort cont.



 TAKE THE VICTIM AS YOU
        FIND THEM


1. Did your actions make a condition
      worse?
2. If so, you may be liable for almost
   all the consequences.
                                    Unintentional Tort
            NEGLIGENCE
            Second area of Tort Law
Unintentional Tort—caused by carelessness
Failure to exercise reasonable care under the
circumstances so that a foreseeable risk to
the other person is created resulting in an
injury to the plaintiff.
                                Unintentional Tort
   STRICT LIABILITY
       Third area of Tort Law


Unintentional Tort—
Injury caused by
individual’s participation in

ultrahazardous
activity.
TRUE LEGAL ACCIDENT

       Rare Situation




       Accident happens –
           no fault of anyone.
              INTENTIONAL TORT
Was there intent to harm?
1. Was there substantial certainty that what you were doing
   would harm someone?
2. Liable for almost all of the consequences.
 (EX: I’m driving my car with you in it, and you want to get
  out, and I don’t stop, that may be false imprisonment. An
                        intentional tort)

            UNINTENTIONAL TORT
Breach of duty through other ways other than by
  committing intentional tort.
                                            Intentional Tort cont.

                 BATTERY


Definition — Unlawful, unprivileged contact
             (touching) of another person




Gist word of battery – contact
Every tort has a gist word
              (key word)
                                    Intentional Tort cont.


                   ASSAULT
DEFINITION: threatening to strike or harm with a
     weapon or physical movement, resulting in fear.




   GIST WORD: Fear and apprehension
                                     Intentional Tort cont.
     FALSE IMPRISONMENT

DEFINITION: Unlawful confinement of a
            person whether in prison or
            otherwise.


example: false arrest




GIST WORD: Confinement
                               Intentional Tort cont.

THREE ELEMENTS MUST BE
 PRESENT TO CLAIM FALSE
 IMPRISONMENT

1. IS THERE CONFINEMENT?
2. IS THERE KNOWLEDGE OF THE
   CONFINEMENT?
3. IS THERE NO REASONABLE MEANS OF
   ESCAPE?
                                             Intentional Tort cont.

    INFLICTION OF MENTAL DISTRESS
DEFINITION: Extreme and outrageous conduct,
     intentional or recklessly causing emotional or mental
     suffering to others. Could be charged with negligent
     infliction of mental distress.
        GIST WORDS: Extreme and Outrageous


(Ex: If I know you are petrified of snakes
and I leave one in your desk--that may be
grounds for a suit based on intentional infliction
of emotional/mental distress.)
                                    Intentional Tort cont.


  TRESPASS TO PROPERTY
  DEFINITION: Wrongful injury or
  intrusion onto another’s property.
        GIST WORD:
           Intrusion


(EX: If a neighbor builds a fence but it happens to
sit on part of your property, that’s a trespass,
even if he did it unintentionally—referred to as
trespass to land.)
      TRESPASS TO CHATTELS


DEFINITION: Minor interference with someone else's
property/possessions (taking it, destroying it, barring
owner’s access to it)
CHATTELS: Personal Property

EX: The mechanic at the
.
garage test drives your
car, has an accident along
the way, and returns to
the garage with your
“wrecked” car.
           CONVERSION
Unauthorized taking or borrowing of
personal property of another for the use of
the taker.




Major interference with another’s property
 DEFENSES TO INTENTIONAL TORT

CONSENT – permission
SELF-DEFENSE – right to defend self with as much force as
          used against you.
DEFENSE OF OTHERS – knowing circumstances, come to
         another’s aid
DEFENSE OF PROPERTY – defense of what is yours
PRIVATE/PUBLIC NECESSITY –
      Public – for the greater good
      Private – damage to save one’s self
SOUND SIMILAR TO DEFENSES USED IN CRIMES???
                       ADDITIONAL TORTS



   NUISANCE
DEFINITION:
Anything that
interferes with your
enjoyment of life
or property.
                               ADDITIONAL TORTS cont.


    INVASION OF RIGHT TO
          PRIVACY
DEFINITION: Interference with a person’s
           right to be left alone:
      a.    Unwarranted appropriation or
            exploitation of one’s personality.
      b.    Publicizing of private affair with
            which the public has no
            legitimate concern.
      c.    Wrongful intrusion into one’s
            private activities, which would
            be highly offensive to a
            reasonable person.
                                AUGUST 2007
MARCH 2006
                          Miss New Jersey Says She's
March Playboy Issue           Being Blackmailed
(2006) Jessica Alba is     Threats Say They'll Make
suing Playboy for           Personal Photos Public
unauthorized use of her   Amy Polumbo's lawyer said the
image for commercial      pictures were probably posted
purposes.                 years ago on a private Internet
                           site. He's describing them as
                                    not that bad.
                                  ADDITIONAL TORTS cont.

                       DEFENSES
1. Consent to invasion of right to privacy


2. Qualified Privilege – invasion of privacy
granted to teachers (as long as about
school and to parents)


3. Absolute Privilege – granted to
Congressmen in Congress
                    ADDITIONAL TORTS cont.




   FRAUD


INTENTIONAL
MISREPRESENTATION
                          ADDITIONAL TORTS cont.



DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER
Wrongful act of injuring another’s reputation by
making false statements
                 TYPES OF DEFAMATION
SLANDER – spoken words
LIBEL – written words/pictures/ broadcast over radio or TV


A case of poison E-mail? (Sidney Blumenthal sues America
  Online for libel and slander)
 | From: U.S. News & World Report   | Date: September 8, 1997 | Author: Simons, John


White House aide Sidney Blumenthal last week filed a
 lawsuit alleging libel, slander, and invasion of privacy,
 seeking $30 million from America Online and Internet
 gossip reporter Matt Drudge. The case charges that last
 month, Drudge erroneously labeled Blumenthal a wife
 abuser in the Drudge Report, a daily dispatch
 transmitted on AOL. Drudge later apologized, but
 Blumenthal wasn't satisfied….
         REQUIREMENTS FOR
            DEFAMATION
Defamatory statements about plaintiff
       (calling names not enough)


1. Publication communicated to a third party


2. Injury to plaintiff’s reputation


EXAMPLE: A colleague from your previous
  employer publishes false statements about
  you to your friends
DEFENSES TO DEFAMATION


1. CONSENT to say what was said
2. TRUTH in what was said
3. ABSOLUTE or QUALIFIED
   PRIVILEGE to say what was said
            DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
      PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE PERSON
1. Must show actual malice for the public person
2. Statements made knowing it was false with reckless
   disregard for its falsity
PUBLIC PERSON – (politicians, judges, entertainers, athletes)
      --must show more damage to their reputation than
      average person to win suit
PRIVATE PERSON – YOU AND ME
ACTUAL MALICE – Statements made either with knowledge it
  was false or with reckless disregard of whether true or
  false.
                      FYI
  INNOCENT CONSTRUCTION
           RULE


If a statement is reasonably susceptible of both a
defamatory and an innocent meaning, the innocent
meaning is to be adopted as a matter of law
                         FYI


     DEFAMATORY STATEMENT

Unprivileged publication of false and defamatory
matter that tends to reflect injuriously on a person’s
reputation, or exposes a person to ―public hatred,
contempt, ridicule, or disgrace OR affecting a person
adversely in his or her trade, business, or profession.
              NEGLIGENCE


Failure to exercise reasonable care under the
circumstances so that a foreseeable risk to
another person is created resulting in an
injury to the plaintiff.

                        2007--Woman dies in ER lobby as
                               911 refuses to help

                       UPDATE:
                       2008--$45M lawsuit by family
                              Has not gone to trial yet


 EDITH RODRIGUEZ, 43
4-STEP MODEL TO UNDERSTANDING
          NEGLIGENCE


1. WAS THERE DUTY? –duty not to hurt a person
2. DID YOU BREACH THAT DUTY? – broken rule
3. WAS THERE CAUSATION? – point the finger
4. WERE THERE DAMAGES? – how responsible are you?


EXAMPLE: A colleague from your previous employer
publishes false statements about you to your friends

                Gist word:
    Causation—act that produces an effect
                                    Police Investigate Response To 911 Call
                                    Young Boy's Attempt To Save His Mother Fails
                                    POSTED: 6:11 pm EDT April 7, 2006

                           Detroit police are investigating a 911 call that hurt rather
                           than benefited a mother and her child.

Robert Turner, 5, called 911 when his mother, who suffered from a heart condition,
collapsed in their Detroit home. When a 911 operator answered the call, she didn't take
Robert's claims seriously.
         Operator: "Where's the grown-ups at?"
         Robert: Inaudible
         Operator: “Now put her on the phone before I send the police out
                   there to knock on the door and you gonna be in trouble."

Operators told Local 4 they take nearly 2 million 911 calls every year, and nearly 40
percent of them are not emergencies.


UPDATE:
A lawsuit has been filed against two Detroit police dispatchers who refused to send help
for Robert Turner's dying mother. The family is asking for more than a million dollars.
       ANALYSIS OF DUTY
         REQUIREMENTS
      Must be to a foreseeable plaintiff


 Was there a reasonable standard of care?


Reasonable Person Standard--Provided
  reasonable standard of care under normal
  circumstances
Horrendous Circumstances – choosing who
  should live or die
                            NEGLIGENCE CONTINUED



  HOW DO YOU
    COMPARE
    CHILDREN
      WITH
  NEGLIGENCE?

Children under 4
  incapable of negligence
Children over 4 – compare     A door with a bullet hole in
  with similar attributes     Landover, Md., after shooting
                              that left 5-year-old Kimberly
                              Brice dead and her 7-year-old
                              brother injured.
                      Boy, 4, 'Sorry' He Shot Siblings
                    LANDOVER, Md. , Sept. 29, 2003 (AP)
A 4-year-old boy who shot and killed his sister and wounded his brother understands
what he has done, his father said.
He knows," Gregory Thigpen Sr. told The Washington Post for a story in Monday's
editions. "He's very remorseful. He was apologizing to me."


Da'Joun Brice was crying when police arrived Saturday after the boy picked up a .45-
caliber semiautomatic handgun and pulled the trigger, shooting 5-year-old Kimberly
Brice and 7-year-old Gregory Thigpen Jr.
"He kept asking if everybody was okay," said spokeswoman Cpl. Diane Richardson.
An older sister, 10-year-old Katina Brice, had gotten Kimberly and Gregory out of the
home when she saw Da'Joun with the gun, but the bullet pierced the front door and
tore through Gregory's back and hit Kimberly's upper body, police said.

The 4-year-old cannot be held criminally responsible, but charges may be filed against
the parents or others who left the gun within reach, police said. The mother, Jennifer
Brice, also could face charges for leaving the children at home without adult supervision.

Thigpen said he was working when the shooting occurred. He declined to say where
Brice was. Brice is not married to Thigpen but lives with him and his brother.
PROFESSIONALS –
Doctors judged by average doctor in
     community
Specialists judged by national standards


COMMON CARRIERS – Bus         Slight negligence
                              makes them libel
INNKEEPERS - Hotel


GUEST STATUTES -- non-paying guests
      Host/Hostessmust show complete
reckless disregard for guest safety.
     Analysis of Causation Requirements
       Actual Causation

But for the defendant’s
  negligent conduct, would
  the injury have occurred?

  Proximate Causation (legal
          causation)

Trier of fact can let a negligent
   defendant off, whose
   negligence actually caused
   the injury based on lack of
   foreseeability.
      Negligence of Owners and
          Occupiers of Land
                 – standard of care to apply.

Undiscovered Trespasser – no basic duty of care
Discovered Trespasser – give adequate warning
Licensee – Salesman – responsible for concealed
            damages
Invited Guests – responsible for concealed dangers
            and duty of reasonable inspection.

Attractive nuisance – swimming pools, old railroad
      cars, refrigerators—you are responsible if an
             injury occurs.
                STRICT LIABILITY
 No amount of care will eliminate risk
   and liability if someone is hurt.
ANIMALS – dog bite                   EXOTIC PETS – crocodile
ULTRA HAZARDOUS ACTIVITIES – dynamite manufacturer


PRODUCT LIABILITY:
(With products, must prove that the
product was not safe for its intended
use and that he was injured by it.
          Defenses to Negligence

Contributory Negligence – if you show both parties
      contributed to injury, no one collects

Comparative Negligence – plaintiff’s recover reduced by
    % of own negligence (if 51% at fault, cannot collect
    damages)

Assumption of Risk – assumed risk of getting hurt so
     should not collect

Last Clear Chance Doctrine – chance to avoid accident
      and don’t—you are held solely responsible
          OK—WHO’S
          THE WISE
            GUY??


            SEE YA NEXT
            CHAPTER—WE
           NEED TO TALK
          TO MANAGEMENT
           ABOUT THEIR
 VERY        SENSE OF
              HUMOR!!
FUNNY
HA HA!!

				
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