Torts - Torts 1 What is a Tort? “Tort” = wrong Why Do...

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Unformatted text preview: Torts 1 What is a Tort? “Tort” = wrong Why Do we have Tort Law? Provide remedies for those who have suffered a loss or injury because another was wrongfully violated their protected interests Two types of Torts: – Unintentional (Negligence) – Intentional 2 Negligence (Unintentional Tort) Occurs when someone unintentionally causes harm to another Four Elements of Negligence (all must be present to win a negligence lawsuit) – A duty of care exists 3 Negligence (unintentional torts) Occurs when someone unintentionally causes harm to another Four Elements of Negligence (all must be present to win a negligence lawsuit) – A duty of care exists – There was a breach of the duty of care 4 Negligence (unintentional torts) Occurs when someone unintentionally causes harm to another Four Elements of Negligence (all must be present to win a negligence lawsuit) – A duty of care exists – There was a breach of the duty of care – Plaintiff suffered injury 5 Occurs when someone unintentionally Negligence (unintentional torts) causes harm to another Four Elements of Negligence (all must be present to win a negligence lawsuit) – A duty of care exists – There was a breach of the duty of care – Plaintiff suffered injury – Causation; injury caused by the breach 6 Duty of Care To whom do you have a duty? – A. To the victim only? – B. To everyone and anyone that could be affected by your breach of duty. – C. To any person who could, with reasonable foreseeability, be injured by your actions Negligence Negligence 7 Duty of Care To whom do you have a duty? – A. To the victim only? – B. To everyone and anyone that could be affected by your breach of duty. – C. To any person who could, with reasonable foreseeability, be injured by your actions Reasonable foreseeability is often difficult to determine – Otis Engineering Corp. v. Clark Negligence Negligence 8 Landowner’s Duty of Care Landowner’s Duty of Care Types of “visitors” to property: – A. Trespasser: someone who is uninvited and not authorized to be on your property – B. Licensee: A person who is has a right be enter your property for self­benefit (i.e. a door­to­door salesman, uninvited neighbor, etc.) – C. Invitee: a person invited to your home or property (i.e. a person you’ve invited over for a party, a customer at a store) Susan is hosting a party and has invited Bob. During the night, Bob continues to make several suggestive comments to Susan’s friend, Pam. Pam is very offended, so Susan tell Bob that he needs to leave the party. Bob refuses to leave. At this point, is Bob still an invitee at 9 Susan’s? Landowner’s Duty of Care Landowner’s Duty of Care Types of “visitors” to property: – A. Trespasser: someone who is uninvited and not authorized to be on your property – C. Licensee: A person who is has a right be enter your property for self­benefit (i.e. a door­to­door salesman, uninvited neighbor, etc.) – D. Invitee: a person invited to your home or property (i.e. a person you’ve invited over for a party, a customer at a store) Susan is hosting a party and has invited Bob. During the night, Bob continues to make several suggestive comments to Susan’s friend, Pam. Pam is very offended, so Susan tell Bob that he needs to leave the party. Bob refuses to leave. At this point, is Bob still an invitee at Susan’s? No. When Susan tells Bob to leave, he is no longer invited and becomes a trespasser. 10 Landowner’s Duty of Care Landowner’s Duty of Care (according to most states) Trespasser: Landowner liable only for own intentional torts Licensee: Landowner liable for intentional torts + “hidden dangers” Invitee: Landowner liable for intentional torts + hidden dangers + negligence 11 Breach of Duty Reasonable Person Standard: how would a reasonable person have acted in that situation? Negligence per se – your breach of a duty indicates negligence no matter how reasonably you acted 12 12 Proximate Cause General Rule ­ There must be a strong connections between act and injury; the injury must be a foreseeable result of the breach. Palsgraf v. Long Island RR Co.: Where the injury was not forseeable, and the link between the cause and the injury was too remote, no liability. 13 13 Independent Intervening Cause T/F ­ Jan is walking down a street. Sledge, a hard­core skateboarder comes skating towards her at a high speed. Jan jumps out of Sledge’s way, but as she does, a window washer drops his squeegee from four stories above. It happens to land right on Jan’s head. She has to get 23 stitches and sues Sledge for negligence. Jan argues that she should win b/c if she hadn’t jumped out of Sledge’s way, she wouldn’t have been in the path of the squeegee. She is right. Independent Intervening Cause: unforeseeable, unrelated event that negates the causation requirement – Brown v. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 14 14 Independent Intervening Cause T/F ­ Jan is walking down a street. Sledge, a hard­core skateboarder comes skating towards her at a high speed. Jan jumps out of Sledge’s way, but as she does, a window washer drops his squeegee from four stories above. It happens to land right on Jan’s head. She has to get 23 stitches and sues Sledge for negligence. Jan argues that she should win b/c if she hadn’t jumped out of Sledge’s way, she wouldn’t have been in the path of the squeegee. She is right. False – this event was a an unforeseeable and unlikely result to Sledge’s negligence, so he won’t be liable. Independent Intervening Cause: unforeseeable, unrelated event that negates the causation requirement – Brown v. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 15 15 Plaintiff’s Injuries Must show that you actually suffered harm. Usually cannot recover punitive damages Negligence Negligence 16 Defenses to Negligence Comparative Fault – Contributory Negligence – if P is at all at fault, cannot recover anything – Comparative Negligence – If P is at all at fault, award is reduced by percentage of fault Statute of Limitations No Fault Systems (i.e. worker’s comp) Negligence Negligence 17 Intentional Torts Assault & Battery Assault: intentional, unexcused act that creates in another person a reasonable apprehension or fear of immediate harm of offensive contact Battery: intentional, unexcused and harmful or offensive physical contact Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 19 Elements of Assault and Battery Elements of Assault and Battery *All required for liability Affirmative Act Intent: you mean only to create an offensive contact or apprehention of an offensive contact – Transferred intent: if a nearby 3rd party is injured by your attempt to harm another, you are liable to the third party even though you did not intend to harm them – Cole v. LA Dept. of Public Safety 20 Injury suffered Defenses to Assault & Battery Consent Self­defense Defense of others Defense of property Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 21 Defamation T/F ­ Carrie can’t stand Martha so she wrote an email to Martha telling her that she was sick of how smelly Martha was and that she should consider bathing at least once a week. Martha’s feelings were really hurt, and she missed a day of class b/c of it. Carrie has committed defamation. Intentionally hurting one’s reputation Elements (all must be present) – – – False statement of fact made Communication or Publication Reputation harmed Types – Libel (written) – Slander (spoken) Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 22 Defamation T/F ­ Carrie can’t stand Martha so she wrote an email to Martha telling her that she was sick of how smelly Martha was and that she should consider bathing at least once a week. Martha’s feelings were really hurt, and she missed a day of class b/c of it. Carrie has committed defamation. False – this may have been a false statement, but it was not published or communicated to a third party and Martha’s reputation does not appear to be harmed. Intentionally hurting one’s reputation Requirements (all must be present to have defamation) – False statement of fact made – Communication or Publication – Reputation harmed – Libel (written) – Slander (spoken) Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 23 Types Defenses to Defamation Claims TRUTH Privileged Communications – Legal proceedings Public Figures – Must show “actual malice” – statements published will full knowledge that they were false. Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 24 Injurious Falsehoods (Disparagement of Property) Falsehoods made about another’s product or property Intentional Torts against Property Intentional Torts against Property 25 False Imprisonment Intentional confinement or restraint of another’s activities without justification or excuse Methods: – Physical Barriers – Physical restraint – Threats of physical force Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 26 Privilege to Detain Doctrine Stores can detain shoplifter if have probable cause Requirements – Reasonable manner – Reasonable length of time Wal­mart Stores, Inc. v. Cockrell Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 27 Elements of Misrepresentation/Fraud Making false statement of fact; AND With intent to deceive; AND Person relies on statement; AND Person receives harm Intentional Torts against the Person Intentional Torts against the Person 28 Conversion Any act depriving owner of personal property without that owner’s permission and without just cause While waiting to catch a flight, Sam put his black briefcase on the left side of his chair. When he boarded the plane, he accidentally grabbed a black briefcase that was to his right and took it on the plane. Is Sam liable for conversion? Intentional Torts against Property Intentional Torts against Property 29 Conversion Any act depriving owner of personal property without that owner’s permission and without just cause While waiting to catch a flight, Sam put his black briefcase on the left side of his chair. When he boarded the plane, he accidentally grabbed a the black briefcase that was to his right and took it on the plane. Is Sam liable for conversion? YES! Mistake is not a defense! Intentional Torts against Property Intentional Torts against Property 30 Nuisance Acting in anyway that deprives a property owner/dweller of the right to peacefully enjoy property. 31 31 Business Torts Elements of Intentional Interference of Business Relationship (a.k.a. Interference of Contract) – – – – Binding contract in place Knowledge of contract and affirmative acts of interference Proximate cause Actual damage or loss to other party The right to compete – Companies only limited when behavior is considered “predatory” – Speakers of Sport: Where K allows for termination, cannot successfully bring suit for Intentional Interference of Contract Manager’s Privilege: If manager breaches K b/c it’s in Corporation’s best interest, no personal liability for manager. 32 32 Definition: Acting in any unethical or dishonest way to gain a competitive edge. Examples: – Leading consumers to believe your product is endorsed or made by another business/person, etc. – Using company’s information to help competitor – Federal and State Statutes that prohibit any dishonest or misleading tactics in marketing or advertising Unfair Competition/ Unfair Business Practices Deceptive Trade Practices Acts (DTPA) Lanham Act Federal act that specifically prohibits false advertising American Italian Pasta: Lanham Act specifically permits “puffery” or assertions that are not verifiable facts. Commercial Defamation: Cannot make any false statements about another’s products or services ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/27/2009 for the course LEB 03605 taught by Professor Peterson during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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