Chapter 11 Lesson
Chapter 11 Lesson
CHAPTER 11 - Business Torts and Crimes
After completing this lesson, the required reading, and the assignments, learners will be able to:
1. Distinguish between torts and crimes and describe the purpose of tort law.
2. List and describe several types of intentional torts.
3. Explain the elements of negligence
4. Examine common torts in business situations.
5. Explain the concept of strict liability and examine current attempts at tort reform.
Distinguishing Torts and Crimes
You should be familiar with the purpose and procedure of criminal law, as well as the differences between criminal and civil law.
(See Chapter 1).
Tort law, which this chapter covers, is a type of civil law.
(There are certainly more, such as contract law,
which we will cover in later chapters.)
is a wrongful act which damages a person or property, thus creating legal liability on behalf of the actor who committed
the tort (legally known as the "tortfeasor").
It could be a person, organization, or sometimes the government.
Tort law is based
on common law, not statutory law.
The primary goal of a tort action is compensation of the victim.
A tort is not necessarily a
criminal act, although it could be.
Therefore, we don't use terms like "guilty" or "convictions" in tort discussions.
defendant being sued for negligence or an intentional tort may be found "liable" or "not liable" for the plaintiff's damages.
learned in Chapter 1, certainly one action may result in both a tort action and a criminal charge.
O.J. Simpson, for
instance, was charged with the crime of first degree murder.
The families of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman also filed a civil
wrongful death action against him seeking damages for the loss of their loved ones.
As your book states on, tort law "involves determining what one's obligations
to be toward one or more specific
As society's interests and priorities change, tort law usually changes as well.
As a result, over time, new torts will be
recognized while others become outdated and are no longer appropriate.
Consider, for instance, the tort of "seduction," which
allowed parents to sue men who seduced their unmarried daughters.
Society may have once believed that young men should
have a legal obligation to the parents of young, unwed women to avoid seducing them, but most of us would probably agree that
such a view is now obsolete, for a variety of reasons (even though we may not condone such behavior).
Another tort which has
become outdated is "alienation of affection."
Several years ago,
ran a piece about a lawsuit filed by the ex-wife of a
man who had had an affair that ended their marriage.
In addition to suing her husband for divorce, the jilted spouse also sued
her husband's paramour, alleging that she had "alienated" her husband's affections away from her.
She won $1 million from the