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Lecture_Five_-_Torts_What_Everyone_Needs_to_Know

Lecture_Five_-_Torts_What_Everyone_Needs_to_Know - Torts...

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Torts What Everyone Needs to Know
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Torts: Introduction If any ordinary person can be liable for it, then your business can be liable for it Generally speaking, anything an employee does in the course of employment may leave the employer responsible as well Doctrine of vicarious liability Plaintiffs will, whenever possible, sue a business rather than (or in addition to) an individual Therefore, it is very important to understand common liability issues as well as those more specific to business and professional situations
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Torts: Introduction From the Latin tortus, that simply means “wrong” In modern application, it refers to a potentially recoverable wrong In reality, not every wrong thing a person might do is a tort For example, there is no cause of action from “negligence in the air” Tort law has become very broad, and it is more productive to focus on principles rather than try to count and enumerate every possible tort Negligence, alone, probably comes in endless varieties
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Torts: Introduction Liability in tort does not depend on any preexisting legal relationship Neighbour principle The purpose of tort law is to compensate the victim, to the extent required to make the victim “whole” Tort law is not designed to punish or provide retribution Punitive damages, nonetheless, may be available in some cases Theory rests on protecting society by discouraging bad behaviour Danger of “windfall justice”
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Intentional Torts Includes various forms of physical violence Also threats, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution Defenses are available for most torts, such as reasonable use of force, honest and reasonable (though mistaken) belief of guilt, etc. Almost anything that would result in a criminal charge, provided that an injured party exists to bring a suit, may also result in civil liability Note again vicarious liability
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Defamation Libel (written) and slander (spoken) are forms of defamation Reputation is considered to have value (sometimes very great value) and is capable of sustaining damage The essential requirements of the tort are that the statement must be made, must be untrue, and must cause damage to reputation As per the requirements of this tort, note that truth is an absolute defense
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Defamation For reasons of public policy, some venues offer absolute protection from liability for defamation Statements made in parliament, in court and similar proceedings, and before royal commissions Of course, in the later contexts, untruth may have other consequences (perjury) Qualified privilege may also grant immunity, subject to good faith and honest belief in truth Letters of reference, reports of Parliamentary and legal proceedings Fair comment and criticism in matters of public interest Canada now has a “responsible communication” defense in journalism Grant v. Torstar Corp. (S.C. 2009)
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Defamation Slander and libel may also occur in a purely
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