Chapter 8: The Law of Torts A Preface “Torts”: French for wrongs Developed out of those suffering losses from a social standpoint Scope and Complexity of Tort Law Intentional acts: intended to cause injury Negligent acts: immaterial intentions Interest & Duty: P’s interest needs protection, and D’s duty to protect was breached Negligence negligence=carelessness Basic elements to establish recovery: 1. D owed P duty of care 2. D breached duty 3. D’s breach caused injury 4. P suffered injury (Element 1) Duty General rule: we owe duty to all we can reasonably foresee might be injured by our carelessness (e.g. Driving down road) Burke v. Pan American World Airways: P sued D for plane collision, but P wasn’t even on plane→ case dismissed Otis Engineering Corp. v. Clark Otis sued b/c employee (Matheson) killed Clarks’ wives after work while intoxicated Trial court dismissed, intermediate court reversed, Otis appealed to TX SC Otis liable to nonfeasance (failure to perform act required by law) & respondeat superior (let the master answer for the wrongs of the agent - ch 7) Redo case with consideration of: nurse aid on plant, call to Mrs. Matheson, another employee able to drive Matheson home Affirm judgment of court of appeals and remand to trial court Duty of Landowners Duty owed depends on whether visitors are o Trespassers (no right to enter): may sue for intentional torts o Licensee (self benefit, salesmen): sue for intentional torts & hidden dangers o Invitee (benefit of owner of occupier): may sue under ordinary rules of negligence (Element 2) Breach of Duty D fails to exercise RPS Juries tend to believe they’re reasonable persons and convict those for RPS failure All the Circumstances Reasonable person exceptions for emergency conditions If D has acted same way others would, RPS isn’t breached Conduct of Others
3rd party torts under hotel owners, apt managers, common carriers, store owners, universities 3rd party rulings: qualitative cost-benefit analysis o Could reasonably foreseeable consequences be seen? o Were risk-reducing measures available? Negligence per se Legislatively imposed standards Ex: “Dram shop” act: illegal to sell liquor to intoxicated person Negligence per se: if D violates statute P must still prove proximate cause & damage (Element 3) Proximate Cause To prove proximate cause: 1. Causation in fact: if D didn’t act negligently, P’s harm wouldn’t have occured; must be the substantial contributing cause 2. Reasonably foreseeable: similar to initial determination of whether D owed P reasonable care in first place Public Policy Concerns Reasonable care when looking at public policy concerns (example: Otis case) Plaintiff does not have to prove that the D’s Exact Harm was Foreseeable P not required that D should have foreseen harm, only conduct leading to general kind of harm You “Take your victims as you find them”
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- Spring '08
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