What is a tort? A civil wrong An injured party can bring a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for a...

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Basic Principles of Tort Law

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Transcript of What is a tort? A civil wrong An injured party can bring a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for a...

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  • What is a tort? A civil wrong An injured party can bring a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for a wrong done to the party or the partys property
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  • What is a tort? Tort damages = monetary damages Compensatory damages Punitive damages May be recovered in intentional tort and strict liability cases
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  • 3 categories of tort Intentional torts Unintentional torts (negligence) Strict liability Relationship between Tort and Criminal Liability The primary aim of tort law is to provide relief for the damages incurred and deter others from committing the same harms
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  • A category of torts that requires that the defendant possessed the intent to do the act that caused the plaintiffs injuries The law protects people from unauthorized touching, restraint, or other contact The law protects a persons reputation and privacy
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  • Assault The threat of immediate harm or offensive contact, or Any action that arouses reasonable apprehension of imminent harm Actual physical contact not necessary Threats of future harm not actionable
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  • Suppose a 6 5, 250 pound man makes a fist and threatens to punch a 5, 100 pound woman. If the woman is afraid, can she sue him for assault?
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  • Suppose a 6 5, 250 pound man makes a fist and threatens to punch a 5, 100 pound woman. If the woman is afraid, can she sue him for assault? If she is a black-belt karate champion and laughs at the threat and is not afraid, can she sue him for assault?
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  • Battery The unauthorized and harmful or offensive physical contact with another person Intentionally hitting someone is considered battery because it is harmful Direct physical contact between victim and perpetrator unnecessary
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  • Battery The victim need not be aware of the harmful or offensive contact Assault and battery often occur together Transferred intent doctrine Applies when a person acts with intent to injure one person but actually injures another The law transfers the intent from the target to the actual victim of the act
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  • On Sep 16, 1975, the Baltimore Orioles baseball team was at Bostons Fenway Park to play the Boston Red Sox. Ross Grimsley was a pitcher for the visiting Orioles. During the game, Grimsley was warming up in the bullpen, throwing pitches to a catcher. During this warm-up, Boston spectators in the stands heckled Grimsley. After Grimsley had completed warming up and the catcher had left from behind the plate in the bullpen, Grimsley wound up as if he were going to throw the ball in his hand at the plate, then turned and threw the ball at one of the hecklers in the stands. The ball traveled at about 80 mph, passed through a wire fence protecting the spectators, missed the heckler that Grimsley was aiming at, and hit another spectator, causing injury. Can the spectator sue Grimsley?
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  • Where a person is liable for harm that is a foreseeable consequence of his/her actions Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do
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  • Elements of negligence Duty of care Breach of duty Harm or injury
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  • Causation A person who commits a negligent act is not liable unless this act was the cause of the injuries. Causation in fact or actual cause Proximate cause or legal cause
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  • Simple Negligence Failure to use the degree of care an ordinary person would exercise Gross Negligence Show indifference to others Shocks fair-minded people Willful and Wanton Negligence Consciously acts with reckless indifference to the consequences Knowledge indicated probable injury to others Administration Textbook @ Page 142
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  • Professional malpractice Reasonable professional standard Breach of this standard constitutes professional malpractice
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  • Negligence per se Tort where the violation of a statute or ordinance constitutes the breach of the duty of care Dram Shop Acts Social host liability Guest statutes
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  • Superseding or intervening event A unforeseeable event that is the actual cause of the injury Assumption of the risk Can be used against a plaintiff who knowingly and voluntarily enters into or participates in a risky activity that results in injury
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  • Liability without fault Participant in a covered activity will be held liable for any injuries caused by the activity even if he/she is not negligent Rationale
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  • Criminal Culpability Negligence Crimes Civil Suit
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  • Administrative Actions of Federal Agencies Parallel systems in states OSHA Publicizes Penalties Preventive Deterrent Effect Willful, Serious and Routine Thousands to Millions of $$$$ 15 days to challenge by requesting a hearing Mine Safety & Health Administration, EPA, DOT, CPSC, NRC, etc. Citizen Lawsuits Strict Liability Offenses Fraud or Concealment Federal Contract Debarment & Blacklisting Administration Textbook @ Page 144-148
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