Torts - Outline - Fall 2007 v.2

Torts - Outline - Fall 2007 v.2 - Torts Law Randall Fall...

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Torts Law – Randall – Fall 2007 Tort Law – collection of principles describing the legal system’s civil response to injuries one person inflicts upon another. -Primarily comes from common law; states devise their own statutes and doctrines. -Many courts use Restatement (Second) of Torts in analyzing legal issues. Restatements deal with common law; experts get together and try to set out the basic rules of an area of law. These do not have the force of law, and no court is required to follow this unless a superior court has cited it in similar cases. Types of Tort Cases 1. Intentional torts – plaintiff may win damages from a defendant by proving that defendant intentionally injured the plaintiff. 2. Negligence – plaintiff can win damages by showing that even though the defendant did not mean to do anything that the law prohibits, the defendant failed to act as carefully as the law requires. 3. Strict Liability – defendant will be liable to plaintiff even if the defendant did not intend to injure the plaintiff, even if the plaintiff acted with whatever care the law requires. I. Negligence - treats torts cases involving accidents of the defendant that caused the plaintiff to suffer harm A. Elements of Negligence 1. Duty a. Duty to provide reasonable care is the standard used to judge the actions of those involved in negligence tort suits. b. An actor’s actions are judged against the actions of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances. Reasonable person standard is used because it provides: i. objective standard ii. objective knowledge iii. shows what an ordinary person would do in the situation 1
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c. Law will not typically shift losses to a defendant as long as the defendant used reasonable care and did not act negligently. 2. Breach 3. Causation 4. Damages B. Cost-Benefit Analysis - the most analytically precise way of formulating negligence standards involves determining whether the burden of precaution is less than the magnitude of the incident, if it occurs, multiplied by the probability of occurrence (expected accident cost). If the burden is less, the precaution should be taken. 1. Learned Hand Formula a. B < PL B = burden of precaution P = Probability of the loss L = loss (magnitude of the loss) C. Dangerous Instrumentalities - the care employed by a reasonable man must be proportionate to the danger of the activity he is undertaking 1. The standard of reasonable care does not vary, but the amount of care that might be reasonable various proportionately to the amount of danger inherent in the activity. D. Sudden Emergency Doctrine 1. The sudden emergency instruction tells a jury that, in the absence of negligence, a person confronted with an emergency that does not present him with much time to consider his actions cannot be held to the same standard of care and choice and accuracy as one who has time to weigh his options. 2.
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Torts - Outline - Fall 2007 v.2 - Torts Law Randall Fall...

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