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Intentional Torts. I. Assault and battery _______ is the intentional, harmful or offensive contact of another without his consent. _______ is an attempt.

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Presentation on theme: "Intentional Torts. I. Assault and battery _______ is the intentional, harmful or offensive contact of another without his consent. _______ is an attempt."— Presentation transcript:

1 Intentional Torts

2 I. Assault and battery _______ is the intentional, harmful or offensive contact of another without his consent. _______ is an attempt to cause a harmful or offensive contact with another if it causes a reasonable apprehension of immediate battery.

3  T or F Statements 1. If Mike throws a rock at Stevens and Stevens is hit by the rock, Mike has not committed a battery because of no direct contact between their bodies. (F----Direct contact between a wrongdoer ’ s body and the body of another is not necessary for a battery to result.) 2. If Mike throws a rock at Stevens, but Peter is hit by the rock, Mike is not liable to Peter for battery. (A wrongdoer who intends to injure one person, but injures another is also liable to the person injured despite the absence of any intent to injure him.)

4 3. Threats of future battery do not create liability of assault. 4. If A fires a rifle at B from a great distance and misses him, and B learns of the attempt on his life only at a later date, then A is liable to B for the tort of assault. 5. A ’ s pointing of the gun at B is an assault; After firing the gun and the bullet hits B, then A commits assault and battery.

5 II. False Imprisonment  Definition False imprisonment is the intentional unjustified confinement of another without his consent.  This tort protects a person from loss of liberty and freedom of movement.

6  T or F statements 1. In order to prevent A from moving, B does not threat to harm A but harm A ’ s spouse or child instead. So this is not false imprisonment. (F – How to make confinement? Confinement may result from physical barrier, or use of physical force or the threat to use of physical force against the plaintiff. ) 2. A confines B in a building by locking one door, but this building has other unlocked doors. This does not amount to false imprisonment.

7 (T – complete confinement ; partial confinement ) 3. A confines B in a room in the third story of a building with all doors locked, only one third-story window open. Such confinement does not amount to false imprisonment. (F – The fact the a means of escape exists does not render a confinement partial if if involves some unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff.)

8  Most contemporary False imprisonment cases involve shoplifting: (1) The common law is more in favor of the interest of customers. The common law held store owners liable for any torts committed while detaining a suspected shoplifter if the investigation revealed that the detainee was innocent of any wrongdoing.

9 (2) Statutes tend to protect the legitimate interests of store owners in preventing theft of their property. A. Most states have passed statutes giving store owner a conditional privilege to stop persons who they reasonably believe are shoplifting.

10 B. The store owner must have reasonable grounds (probable cause) to believe the shoplifting has been committed. The owner must act in a reasonable manner and only detain the suspect for a reasonable length of time. C. Store owners who act within the scope of such a statute are not liable for any torts committed in the process of detaining a suspected shoplifter.

11 Case analysis: Bonkowski v. Arlan ’ s Department Store Facts : the plaintiff, the defendant store, a private policeman, in the nearby parking lot, steal costume jewelry … Procedural history – This case is an appeal from a jury trial with a verdict for false arrest and slander Plaintiff ’ s claim – torts, damages on false arrest and slander Defendant ’ s claim – to waive the jury ’ s verdict and make a new trial

12 Legal issues:  Whether the case should be taken on a new trial?  What privilege does the defendant have as a defense in shoplifting cases involving false arrest?

13 Reasoning:  What is the usual privilege the defendant enjoys under the common law and the Restatement of Torts? What is the justification for it?  What is the privilege recognized in this case?  Give instructions on what the jury should do on remand of this case.

14 Reasoning: 1. Clarify the legal principle governing this case: (1) what privilege a merchant enjoys (2)under what circumstances he enjoys such privilege (3)why it is necessary to grand merchant such privilege (The appeal court stresses the concept of privilege in false arrest case involving shoplifting, whereas the trial court and the jury made no consideration to this defense.)

15 Reasoning: 2. Extend this privilege to the special circumstances of this case----the detention of one who has left the premises but in their immediate vicinity. 3. Remand the case to the trial court for a new trial with instruction----it will be the duty of the jury to decide (1) whether … and (2) whether … Decision: Reversed and remanded for new trial.

16  Defamation Defamation refers to unprivileged publication of false and defamatory statements concerning another. The statements must harm the particular plaintiff ’ s reputation. 1. Two statements “ Alfred is a lousy governor. ” “ I think Tony must be a homosexual. ” Which statement is a subject of defamation? ( statement of opinions statement of facts)

17 2. The elements of the tort of defamation require publication of a defamatory statement. (T or F) (1) Communication of the defamatory statement to one person other than the person defamed is ordinarily not sufficient for publication. (2) One who repeats or republishes a defamatory statement is liable for defamation, regardless of whether he identifies the source of the statement.

18 3. Libel and Slander (1) Which category should some new media, such as radio, television, be classified into? Today the great majority of courts treat broadcast defamation as libel. (2) Is there any significance to distinguish libel and slander? Libel is actionable without any proof of special damage to the plaintiff. Slander is generally not actionable without proof of special damage.

19 4. Defamation and the constitution In recent years the Supreme Court has balanced the conflicting social interests in a series of important cases. (1) Under the common law, defendants were strictly liable for defamatory statements. (2) In New York Times v. Sullivan, the court held that public officials seeking to recover for defamatory statements relating to performance of their official duties must prove actual malice on the part of a media defendant to recover any damages. The plaintiff was awarded punitive damages without need to show defendant had actual malice.

20 (3) In Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc, the court refused to extend the actual malice test to media defamation of private citizens who involuntarily became involved in matters of public concern. Instead, the court held that : A. to recover compensatory damages such person must prove some degree of fault at least amounting to negligence on the part of the defendant. B. to recover punitive damages they must prove actual malice.

21 (4) Dun Bradstreet Inc v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc is a case involving a private figure plaintiff (a construction contractor) and defamatory speech about a matter of purely private concern (a false credit report). The court refused to apply the Gertz standard and upheld a recovery based on the common law strict liability standard.

22 5. Defenses to defamation (1) ______ is an absolute defense to defamation. The tort of defamation requires that a statement as the basis of a defamation suit be _____ and ______. ( Truth; false and defamatory) (2) Even where defamatory statements are false, a defense of _____ may serve to prevent liability._____ can be absolute or conditional. (privilege; privilege)

23 a. statements made by participants in judicial proceedings, legislators in the course of legislative proceedings, certain executive officials in the course of their official duties … ----absolute privilege b. Statements made by the author for acting to protect his own legitimate interests or those of third person. ----conditional privilege

24  Invasion of the right to privacy Four distinct behaviors qualify as an invasion of privacy. (1) Intrusion on a person ’ s solitude or seclusion. The intrusion may be physical or nonphysical intrusion. (2) Public disclosure (publicity) concerning private facts A. Truth is not a defense to this type of invasion of privacy.

25 B. This tort also conflicts with the constitutionally protected freedoms of the press and of speech. The courts have attempted to balance these conflicting social interests in several ways. First, no liability ordinarily attaches to publicity concerning matters of public record or of legitimate public interest. Second, public figures and public officials have no right of privacy concerning information that is reasonably related to their public life.

26 (3) Publicity placing a person in a false light in the public eyes (4) Appropriation of name or likeness for commercial purposes

27  Intentional tort against property Trespass to land Nuisance Trespass to personal property Conversion

28 real property (realty) 1. Property personal property (personalty) to land 2. Trespass to personal property ______is the most common tort that infringes upon both real and personal property interests. (Trespass) A person who ventures onto the land of another without permission is a ______. (trespasser)

29 3. trespass to land / nuisance (1) Definition Trespass to land: P7 Nuisance is the unreasonable and unlawful interference with another person ’ s right to the use or enjoyment of his land. (2) The traditional view regarding trespass is that there must be an actual (physical), tangible interferences. Nuisance, unlike trespass, does not necessarily involve any physical interferences of a person ’ s property.

30 (3) Examples Trespass to land: P7 Nuisance: noise, vibrations, the projection of light, unpleasant smell …

31 4. Trespass to personal property / conversion (1) Definition Trespass to personal property:P7 Conversion is the wrongful and unlawful exercise of control or dominion (power) over the personal property of another. Conversion deprives the proper owner of lawful rights in the property.

32 Case analysis: Milk goes to Friendly Motors to ask for a test-drive of new-brand car. Suppose: (1) Milk wrecks the car, causing serious damage to the car; (2) Milk drives the car across the United States; (3) Milk is involved in the fender bender; (4) Milk keeps the car for eight hours. Which situations constitute conversion, and which situations constitute trespass to personal property?

33 (2) The difference between conversion and trespass to personal property is based on __________________________ (the degree of interference with another ’ s property rights). The factors the courts may consider in determining the seriousness of interference are _________________ a. the extent of the harm done to the property ; b. the extent and duration of the interference

34 T or F for revision: (1) Nuisance must involve some physical invasion of a person ’ s property. (2) Noise, vibration, unpleasant odors are examples that could be trespass. (3) A person cannot be liable for trespass if the trespass results from his mistaken belief that his entry is legally justified. (4) The difference between conversion and trespass to personal property is based on the degree of interference with another ’ s property right.

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