Torts 2 Final - Torts 2 Final The Duty of Care Special Circumstances Generally speaking a defendant does not owe a plaintiff a duty of care to help if

Torts 2 Final - Torts 2 Final The Duty of Care Special...

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Torts 2 Final The Duty of Care – Special Circumstances Generally speaking, a defendant does not owe a plaintiff a duty of care to help if the plaintiff is in peril, or to control the actions of 3 rd parties that may harm plaintiff o While a defendant’s not doing either of these things may be MORALLY reprehensible, there is generally no recognized LEGAL duty to do so However, if the defendant’s actions placed plaintiff in a position of peril, or increased her risk of harm by a 3 rd party, then the defendant does owe the plaintiff a duty of care. Therefore, courts will look at nature of defendant’s actions in those circumstances to determine if a duty of care exists o Nonfeasance vs. Misfeasance Nonfeasance - Simply failing to aid a plaintiff in peril which was not caused by defendant, or failing to prevent the actions of 3rd parties unrelated to defendant from harming plaintiff Generally, no duty of care owed Misfeasance - Affirmative actions by defendant which places plaintiff in a position of peril or increased the risk of harm to plaintiff by a 3rd party. Defendant would generally owe a duty of care - Rescuer Doctrine - Voluntarily Assumed Duties Even when there is no legal duty to act in a given situation, a duty of care generally arises where the defendant voluntarily undertakes to render some type of aid or assistance Common exceptions are “Good Samaritan” statutes which are usually passed to protect licensed doctors and nurses from liability should they gratuitously render aid o Usually not to require people to aid others as some mistakenly believe Special Relationships Generally here is no duty to control the conduct of 3 rd parties to prevent the 3 rd party from causing harm to another However, the existence of a “special relationship” between the affected parties can give rise to a duty of care on the part of defendant A special relationship between the defendant and the 3rd party, impose a duty on defendant to control the 3 rd party’s actions o Defendant knows or should know the 3 rd party is likely to commit such acts o Actual ability or authority to control the 3 rd party A special relationship between the defendant and the would-be victim of a 3 rd party’s actions, imposes a duty on defendant to protect the would-be victim Common Examples o Common-carrier & passenger o Landlord & tenant o Employer & employee o Parent & child Public vs. Private Duties Imposing an affirmative duty on a public entity can lead to economic consequences Two situations where an affirmative duty to act may be imposed on a public entity o The public entity voluntarily acts to induce reliance by the plaintiff o A special relationship exists between the private citizen and public entity
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Negligent Infliction of (Solely) Emotional Distress Cause of action characterized by: o Plaintiff is a “bystander” to defendant’s alleged negligent act o Plaintiff claims to have suffered emotional distress
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