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Intentional Torts httpS://

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1 Intentional Torts httpS://
Ms. Weigl

2 Warm Up What is the difference between strict liability and negligence?

3 Intent A person who plans to perform a certain act and then does so, is said to have acted with INTENT. Example: A child knocks over a glass on purpose.

4 Intentional torts Actions taken to deliberately harm another person or their property. Two general types of torts -causing injury to person(s) -causing harm to property

5 Tort Law In tort law, the required intent is to do the forbidden act
Example: Forbidden act -> knocking the glass off of the table (not a bad motive or a desire to cause harm)

6 Compensatory Damages a person who proves that someone else committed an intentional tort against him or her can recover damages. The award compensates for the harm caused by the defendant.

7 Compensatory Damages Can include: pain and suffering as well as lost wages Must prove with reasonable certainty: Any future losses: Medical bills Reduced or lost wages Pain and suffering Juries decide how much $ will fully compensate the injured person for any pain and suffering.

8 Nominal Damages A token of amount of $ awarded by the court to show that the claim was justified. These are symbolic awards of $ that are paid even if the plaintiff is unable to prove economic harm. They are awarded to recognize that the defendant acted wrongfully even though he or she did not cause substantial injury or loss.

9 Nominal Damages Example: Juan slaps Matthew in a heated argument.
In court it is shown that even though Juan wrongfully slapped Matthew, Matthew suffered no serious injury. The court awarded $1 in nominal damages to Matthew.

10 Punitive Damages The amounts of $ awarded to the plaintiff to punish the defendant for malicious, willful, or outrageous acts. Punitive damages serve as a warning to others to not engage in such conduct. It is possible for both nominal and punitive damages to be awarded even where there is little or no actual harm that would justify compensatory damages.

11 Punitive Damages Example: Kate shoots a gun at Mark and misses him. What type of tort is this? The court could award nominal damages (because there was no actual harm inflicted) and punitive damages(because Kate’s act was so outrageous).

12 Torts that injure persons
Battery occurs when a person intentionally causes a harmful or offensive contact with another person. The perpetrator is liable for all resulting damages, regardless of whether he or she wanted or expected the contact to cause injury.

13 Battery Offensive contact would be contact that would offend an average person in society. Elaine became angry at Ravi and shoved him toward an open window. Although the shove was not hard, he fell backward through the window and suffered serious injuries. Even though Elaine did not want him to suffer such serious injury, she will be liable for damages if Ravi sues her for battery.

14 Assault Occurs when a person goes beyond mere words and intentionally makes someone fear an immediate harmful or offensive contact. Can be an intentional threat, show of force or movement that causes a reasonable fear. As a result of an assault, the plaintiff can recover compensation for mental suffering, such as fright or embarrassment, along with any physical injury that directly results from the assault.

15 Infliction of emotional distress
When a person intentionally uses words or actions that are meant to cause someone extreme anxiety or emotional distress. Actual physical injury is not required for the plaintiff to recover damages. Courts do require that the defendant’s conduct be quite outrageous and that the plaintiff prove extreme distress. Mere insults are NOT the basis for a lawsuit in this area.

16 False Imprisonment Protects a person’s rights to be free from unreasonable restraint. Occurs when someone intentionally and wrongfully confines another person against his or her will.

17 Torts related to defamation
Defamation- acts that harm a person’s reputation and can be classified as oral or written. Slander- oral statements that harm reputation Libel- written defamation Which type of defamation is easy to prove?

18 Torts that harm property
Tort law protects a person’s property in two ways: (1) it protects against interference with the owner’s exclusive use of the property. (2) it protects against the property being taken or damaged. Protects: real property, personal property, and intellectual property

19 Torts that harm property
Real property trespass- when you enter another’s property without permission nuisance- occurs when there is an unreasonable interference with your ability to use and enjoy your property attractive nuisance- a doctrine that says if a person keeps something on his or her premises that is likely to attract children, that person must take reasonable steps to protect children against dangers the condition might cause. injunction- a court order requiring the defendant to stop the activity.

20 Torts that harm property
Personal Property tort law provides compensation to someone whose personal property is taken, damaged, or interfered with. conversion- occurs when someone unlawfully exercises control over the personal property of another person.

21 Intellectual Property
patent- recognizes your ownership of the invention infringement- when a person has a patent or copyright indicating ownership over some invention or expression, any other person who uses the patented or copyrighted work without permission.

22 Intellectual Property
Patent novel- new monopoly- anyone who tries to sell or profit from your patented product, the patent-holder can sue for infringment.

23 Copyright Protect any expression that is somehow fixed (written down, recorded on tape, stored on a computer disk, painted on a canvas, etc.) Do not have to go through any legal process to obtain a copyright.

24 Copyright Derivative works- a work that is very similar to but slightly different from copyrighted work First sale- the first purchaser of a piece of copyrighted material may legally resell that particular copy of the protected work.

25 Defenses to Intentional Torts
consent- MOST common defense to many intentional torts This defense means that the plaintiff consented, or agreed, to the harmful conduct thus giving up the right to sue later

26 Defenses to Intentional Torts
privilege- justifies conduct that would otherwise be a tort, because the defendant’s interests or those of public policy require it. Example: Legal authority Police have the legal authority to restrain a person’s liberty while carrying out an arrest.

27 Defenses to Intentional Torts
Self-defense: BEST known privilege Example: If Julie attacks Amanda, then Amanda can use reasonable force to protect or defend herself. Defenders who take control of a situation and become aggressors commit assault and battery and thus cannot claim self-defense.

28 Defense of Intentional Torts
Defense of property another privilege that allows people to use reasonable force to defend their homes or property. Deadly force is generally not considered reasonable when defending property. Exception is the Castle Doctrine: law in some states that allows you to use deadly force to protect their homes. (Stand Your Ground law)

29 Negligence
Tort Law: Intro. To Negligence Negligence v. Intentional Tort

30 Civil Actions What is a civil action? Can you think of any examples?
Definition of a civil action: “An action brought to enforce, redress, or protect a private or civil right; a noncriminal litigation” Compare to the definition for a criminal action: “An action instituted by the government to punish offenses against the public”

31 Civil Actions are Different
Criminal Actions Brought by the government Government is known as the prosecution Prosecution has the burden of proof – beyond a reasonable doubt Defendant loses if found guilty Usual penalty is a prison sentence Civil Actions Brought by private citizens Person bringing action is known as the plaintiff Plaintiff has the burden of proof – preponderance of the evidence Defendant loses if found liable Usual penalty is money damages

32 How to Prove Negligence
The plaintiff needs to prove four elements by a preponderance of the evidence Duty Breach of Duty Causation (two parts) Damages

33 Duty Defined: “A legal obligation that is owed or due to another and that needs to be satisfied; an obligation for which somebody else has a corresponding right” Example: If you drive a car, you have a duty to obey the rules of the road

34 The Duty of Care By an objective standard
Generally speaking, a person owes a “duty of care” to those around him or her (i.e. a duty to act reasonably) How is this duty of care determined? By an objective standard When evaluating a person’s conduct, tort law asks – would a reasonable person of ordinary prudence in the defendant’s position act as the defendant did?

35 The Duty of Care: Example
Would a reasonable person drive down the street with a paper grocery bag over her head? The reasonable person would not do this Thus, part of the duty of care when driving is to not obstruct your vision

36 Breach of Duty Defined: “The violation of a legal or moral obligation; the failure to act as the law obligates one to act” What do you think constitutes a breach of duty? Once the duty is established, it is a simple matter to determine whether the defendant’s actions met this standard of care or not

37 Causation Also known as legal cause
There are two aspects of causation that must be considered: cause in fact and proximate cause Cause in fact defined: “The cause without which the event could not have occurred” Proximate cause defined: “A cause that is legally sufficient to result in liability; an act or omission that is considered in law to result in a consequence, so that liability can be imposed on the actor” Also known as legal cause

38 Cause in Fact: The “But For” Test
How does the law determine what is a cause in fact? The “but for” test: If the defendant had not acted negligently (by breaching the standard of care), the plaintiff would not have been injured

39 Proximate Cause: Foreseeability
How does the law determine what is a proximate cause? Foreseeability: Most courts say that a defendant is liable only for consequences of his negligence that were reasonably foreseeable when he acted Seeks to limit the defendant’s liability to those results that are of the same general sort that made the conduct negligent in the first place

40 Damages There are two aspects of damages that must be considered: actual, physical harm and the monetary values ascribed to those harms The first aspect is straightforward – show that you suffered actual injury (e.g. broken arm, burned down house, etc.) Once you prove the actual, physical harm, the second aspect of damages comes into play: “Money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury” The law tries to restore the plaintiff to her pre-injury condition using money

41 What Can Plaintiffs Recover?
What do you think a plaintiff could recover if he or she proves the defendant acted negligently and caused his or her harm? Categories: Direct loss – value of the loss of certain bodily functions (e.g. loss of a leg) Economic loss – out-of-pocket costs resulting from the injury (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, reduced earnings capacity, property damage) Pain and suffering – value of the mental anguish plaintiff has suffered and will continue to suffer There are others, but these are the main categories

42 Defenses to Negligence Suits
As you know, it is rare that an accident is caused solely because of one person’s actions If the plaintiff is partly at fault for his or her injuries, what can the defendant do to reduce his or her liability? Contributory negligence defense: If the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the harm suffered, the plaintiff cannot collect anything from the defendant Comparative negligence defense: Plaintiff’s recovery from the defendant is reduced by the percentage that the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the injury

43 Defenses to Negligent Suits
Counterclaim- comparative fault. Assumption of risk- used when a person voluntarily encounters a known danger and decides to accept the risk of that danger. - this defense is also used when a warning is posted that gives notice of a certain danger. Example: A pool posting a sign that says, “Swim at your own risk.”

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