Outline of The Forms & Functions of Tort Law by Kenneth Abraham

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					                              Outline– Torts: Forms and Functions (by Kenneth Abraham)
Note: Page numbers in parentheses correspond to the page numbers in the Forms & Functions book, and not
the page numbers of this outline



Table of Contents
I. Introduction (p. 1-20 in Forms).................................................................................................................... 2
1)        What is a Tort? .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 2
2)        Important Procedure (stuff from civil procedure that’s especially relevant to torts) ........................................................ 2
3)        Functions of Tort Law.................................................................................................................................................................................... 2
4)        Questions to Consider.................................................................................................................................................................................... 3
II. First Element of a Tort Claim: DUTY (The Negligence Standard) .................................................................. 3
1) History (p. 47 in Forms) – History won’t be tested on an exam, but important for purposes of understanding
where the current rule came from & how it developed ............................................................................................................................ 3
2) Reasonable Person Standard (p. 52 in Forms).................................................................................................................................... 3
3) The Negligence “Calculus” (p. 60 in Forms) ......................................................................................................................................... 5
4) Custom (p. 66 in Forms) ............................................................................................................................................................................... 6
5) Malpractice (p. 69 in Forms) ...................................................................................................................................................................... 6
6) Violation of Statutes (p. 78 in Forms) ..................................................................................................................................................... 7
7) Negligence as a Matter of Law: The Role of Judges and Juries...................................................................................................... 8
III. BREACH OF DUTY – Proof of Negligence .................................................................................................... 8
1)        The Burden of Proof (p. 87) ........................................................................................................................................................................ 9
2)        Res Ipsa Loquitur............................................................................................................................................................................................. 9
IV. STRICT LIABILITY & NUISANCE ................................................................................................................. 10
1) The Theory Behind Strict Liability .........................................................................................................................................................10
2) Traditional Strict Liability..........................................................................................................................................................................10
3) Property Torts ................................................................................................................................................................................................12
4) Nuisance: a substantial and unreasonable interference with the right of an owner or occupier of land to the use
and enjoyment of the land; not a cause of action, but a type of harm. Not trespass that is right to
possession/occupancy. .........................................................................................................................................................................................12
5) Vicarious Liability..........................................................................................................................................................................................13
V. CAUSATION ............................................................................................................................................. 14
1)  Cause-In-Fact...................................................................................................................................................................................................14
      The Conventional Tests: “Bur For” and “Substantial Factor” .........................................................................................................14
     a)
      Multiple Causes, Indeterminate Causes, and the Convention Tests ..............................................................................................15
     b)
2) Proximate Cause ............................................................................................................................................................................................16
  a) The Basics ................................................................................................................................................................................................................16
  b) The Difficult and the Unusual ........................................................................................................................................................................17
  c) Judge, Jury, and the Underlying Purpose of Proximate Cause .........................................................................................................18
VI. DAMAGES .............................................................................................................................................. 18
1)        Compensatory Damages .............................................................................................................................................................................18
2)        Collateral Sources and Benefits ...............................................................................................................................................................19
3)        Damages in Wrongful Death and Survival Actions ..........................................................................................................................19
4)        Punitive Damages ..........................................................................................................................................................................................20


                                                                                                               1
VII. DEFENSES AND LIMITED DUTY ............................................................................................................... 20
1)  Defenses Based on ’s Conduct...............................................................................................................................................................20
  b) Comparative Negligence ..................................................................................................................................................................................20
  c) Assumption of Risk (Abraham thinks this shouldn’t be called assumption of risk. 4 different concepts)..................21
2) Affirmative and Limited Duty (Limited and far and few between) ..........................................................................................22
  a) Rescue........................................................................................................................................................................................................................22
  b) Enabling Torts (At the core, involve a duty to rescue) .......................................................................................................................22
  c) The Duty of Owners and Occupiers of Land to Entrants on the Land ..........................................................................................22
  d) “Pure” Emotional Loss .......................................................................................................................................................................................22
  e) “Pure” Economic Loss .........................................................................................................................................................................................23
VIII. PRODUCTS LIABILITY............................................................................................................................. 23
1)       Era of Contract Privity .................................................................................................................................................................................23
2)       Era of Negligence ...........................................................................................................................................................................................23
3)       Era of Transition and the Rise of Warranty Rules ...........................................................................................................................23
4)       Modern Era: “Strict” Liability for Defective Products.....................................................................................................................24
5)       Disclaimers, Bystanders and Consumer Sovereignty .....................................................................................................................26




I. Introduction (p. 1-20 in Forms)

1) What is a Tort?
       a) Four elements of every cause of action in tort: 1) Duty (legal duty to comply with a particular standard of
          care) 2) Breach of Duty (failure to comply with the applicable standard of care) 3) Causation, 4)
          Damages.

2) Important Procedure (stuff from civil procedure that’s especially relevant to torts)
       a) Motion to Dismiss (Prior to Discovery)- Tests allegations
          i) Tests legal sufficiency of allegations.  does not challenge ’s factual assertions.
       b) Summary Judgment (After Discovery, before Trial)
          i) 1) no genuine issue of fact and 2) party making motion is entitle to judgment ―as a matter of law‖
          ii) The only question is whether the Δ was negligent as a matter of law or contrary whether a jury could
               legitimately conclude on the basis of the undisputed facts that the Δ was not negligent.
          iii) No need for jury.
       c) Directed Verdict (Judgment as a Matter of Law)- Tests evidence
          i) Court determines as a matter of law, rather than the jury finding as a matter of fact, who wins.
          ii) Trial court decides whether reasonable people could disagree about a particular question of fact.
               (1) Nevertheless, because court makes the decision, it is a question of law.

3) Functions of Tort Law
       a) Corrective Justice
          i) Help restore moral balance between the parties. As connection between injurer and victim becomes
             less direct, corrective justice is less relevant. Insurance is key.
       b) Optimal Deterrence
          i) The purpose of imposing tort liability to deter unreasonable behavior is to give potential injurers the
             ince
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: This is my law school outline of Kenneth Abraham's The Forms and Functions of Tort Law. This book is regarded as the best supplement for your torts class, by the nation's leading tort law scholar, and this outline will tell you essentially everything you need to know for your tort law class/final exam (the only exception would be if your professors want you to cite cases, and some of the cases you've read for your class are not covered in Abraham's book). I went to a top 10 law school, and I got an A in my torts class, for which I studied primarily by studying the contents of this outline.
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