2 Torts: An Introduction What is a Tort?A civil wrong, not arising from a breach of contract or other agreement.A breach of a legal duty that proximately causes harm or injury to another.
3 Torts: An Introduction Civil vs. Criminal WrongA tort is a “civil” wrong punishable by paying damages to the injured party.A tort is not a “criminal” wrong resulting in paying a fine to the government and/or being imprisoned.
4 Torts: An Introduction Civil vs. Criminal WrongSome torts may also serve as the basis for separate criminal prosecution by the state.Burden of Proof is different:“beyond a reasonable doubt” for crimes“preponderance of evidence” for torts
5 Torts: An Introduction Tort vs. ContractThe duty that is violated by the tortfeasor must exist as a matter of law, not as a consequence of any agreement between the tortfeasor and the injured party.
6 Torts: An Introduction Elements of a TortWrongful ActProximate CauseDamages
7 Torts: An Introduction Proximate Causecause and effect relationshipa foreseeable and probable consequence of the act or omission.
8 Intentional Torts:A tort intentionally or knowingly committed. It can be to a person or to property.
9 Intentional Torts: Assault An intentional act that creates a reasonable apprehension of immediate harmful contact.For example, pointing a gun at someone.
10 Intentional Torts: Battery An intentional harmful or offensive contact.For example, getting hit by the bullet.
11 Intentional Torts: False Imprisonment The intentional confinement or restraint of another person’s activities without justification.Restraint may occur through the use of physical barriers, physical restraint, or threats of physical force.
12 Intentional Torts: Infliction of Emotional Distress An intentional act that amounts to extreme and outrageous conduct resulting in severe emotional distress to another.Parodies of public figures protected
13 Intentional Torts: Defamation Defamation is anything published or publicly spoken that injures another’s character, reputation, or good name.Libel is defamation that is written.Slander is defamation in oral form.Truth is normally an absolute defense against any claim of defamation.Public figure has to prove actual malice.
14 Intentional Torts: Privacy Invasion of PrivacyFour acts generally qualify as improperly infringing on another’s privacy:
15 Intentional Torts: Privacy Appropriation: use of a person’s name or likeness without permission.Intrusion in an individual’s affairs where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.Public disclosure of private facts that an ordinary person would find objectionable.Publication of information that places a person in a false light.
16 Intentional Torts: Fraud Actionable fraud consists of the following elements:A misstatement of a material factMade knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truthWith intention to deceive anotherWith justifiably reliance by a reasonable person
17 Intentional Torts: Fraud Mere puffery, or “sales talk,” is not fraud because such claims involve opinions, not facts, and therefore cannot be justifiably relied upon by a reasonable person.
18 Intentional Torts: Tortious Interference Intentional interference with a contractual relationshipMust be a contract between two partiesThird party must know the contract existsThird party must intentionally cause a breach of that contract
19 Intentional Torts: Tortious Interference Intentional Interference with a business relationship- Must be some sort of predatory behaviorBona Fide competitive behavior is a defense to tortious interference
20 Intentional Torts: Trespass Entry onto another person’s land without permission. It may be:On landAbove landBelow surfaceIt also may involve personal property,such as a website
21 Intentional Torts: Conversion Wrongfully taking or retaining another’s property and placing it in service of another.
22 Negligence: Basic Principles Elements of Negligence:Duty of care to act as a reasonable person under similar circumstancesBreach of DutyProximate CauseOf Damages to the Plaintiff.
23 Duty No duty to stop and render aid Duty to aid if you were involved in accidentIn your actions, act as a reasonable person would act
24 Duty of Landowners Trespassers Duty not to intentionally or recklessly cause them harm.
25 Duty of LandownersLicensees - social guests and other persons not on the premises for any business purposeDuty to warn of any known dangers
26 Duty of LandownersInvitees - persons who come onto premises for business purposes, including retail and other establishmentsDuty to warn of known dangers and those dangers owner should know about
27 Defenses to Negligence Assumption of RiskSuperseding Cause
28 Negligence: Damages Tort law recognizes two categories of damages: Compensatory damages - Designed to reimburse actual value of the plaintiff’s injury or lossPunitive damages - Designed to punish the tortfeasor and to deter similar conduct in the future.
29 Contributory and Comparative Negligence Contributory NegligenceAny negligence on the part of the plaintiff that contributed to the injury is an absolute bar to the recovery of damages.It does not matter how insignificant the plaintiff’s own negligence is compared to that of the defendant.
30 Contributory and Comparative Negligence Once it is established that negligence of both parties caused the damages, the court must apportion negligence among the parties on a percentage basis.Adopted by statute in some form in all statesOver 50% “no recovery” rule in Texas and other states
31 Strict Liability Liability regardless of fault. Imposed on defendants whose activities are abnormally dangerous and/or involve dangerous animals.Imposed also on manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of any products which are “defective”