torts_trial_procedures_ch2 - Chapter 1 Tort Law Aims...

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Chapter 1: Tort Law: Aims, Approaches, and Processes What is Tort Law? - Torts are wrongs recognized by law as grounds for lawsuit - Harm required: o Defendant’s wrong results in harm to another person o Injured person has “cause of action” Claim against the person who committed the tort o Tangible v. intangible harms - Criminal law v. Tort law o CL aims at vindicating public interests o TL aims at vindicating individual rights and redressing private harms - Common questions in Tort Law o What conduct counts as tortuous or wrongful? o Did the conduct cause the kind of harm the law will recognize? o What defense can be raised against liability if the defendant has committed a tort? Aims and Approaches in Tort Law Morality and Corrective Justice [one of 2 large systems of thought] - Attempts to hold defendants liable for harms they wrongfully caused and no others - Liability is imposed only what it is right to do so - Overall object of tort law is to define cases in which the law may justly hold one party liable to compensate another Social utility or Policy - Bases Tort Law on social policy o Good-for-all-of-us view - Dominant concern is not justice to the individual o Provide a system of rules that works toward the good of society Process - Rules must be made that both judges and juries can understand and apply in a practical way *Potential conflict between corrective justice and social utility systems of thought Ex. Fire in the city - Implode a house in order to stop fire from spreading - Is city responsible for damages when it was for the greater good of society or should they compensate the owner of the house?
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Ideas of Corrective Justice Fault and corrective justice - TL imposes liability on defendants for conduct that the law considers wrong o Morally faulty conduct o Harmed plaintiff in some recognizable way - Tort liability requires the wrongdoer to compensate the plaintiff - Wrong to impose liability upon a defendant who is not at fault in causing the plaintiff’s harm Strict liability and corrective justice - Rule that imposes liability when actor is not at fault o But is responsible o Ex. Destruction of property by another when you were responsible for looking after it for a friend - Goes against corrective justice slightly o Not fair to actor who has no fault Uniting the potential for gains and losses - When an actor makes choices about his conduct, he is entitled to the gains that may result from that conduct - Actor also must take responsibility for the losses Compensation, Risk Distribution, Fault Risk distribution or loss spreading - Some defendants may be liable for any harms they cause regardless of fault o B/c they can distribute the costs of paying compensation Ex. Products manufacturers could pay compensation for injuries they cause and then recoup some or all of these costs by raising the price of products Moral and Policy reasons for limiting compensation to cases of fault - Judges feel committed to a system of corrective justice and turn to social policy
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torts_trial_procedures_ch2 - Chapter 1 Tort Law Aims...

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