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- Private wrong or injury
- against a person or property
- for which the law provides redress (damages)
- tortious conduct- conduct that results in commission of a tort.
- torts are creatures of state law; essentially no federal torts
Tort always involves four elements:
- a legal duy (duty recognized by the law)
- a (violation) breach of that duty by the defendant
- injury or damage to person or property
- breach of duty that caused the injury
- Actual Cause: defendent's particular action or occasion (conduct) that was a substantial factor in bringing the event that caused the injury. (if the action did not take place then would i be harmed?)
- Legal cause: proximate cause (forseeable plaintiff that was harmed based on the forseeable content, is it someone that you would think would be hurt by your action?)
Burden of Proof
preponderance of the evidence and they must prove all the elements in the tort by a preponderance of the evidence. (greater weight in the evidence in a civil lawsuit)
- Compensatory Damages: for pain and suffering or emotional distress as well as actual objectively proven dmagaes such as medical costs, lost wages, repair costs
- Nominal damages: awarded as a moral vicotry or basis for punitive damages.
- Punitive damages: punish the defendant for engaging in extremely harmful conduct, intentional harm.
Categories of Tort:
- Intentional tort
- Negligent Tort
- Strict Liability tort
- intent to act in a manner that the defendant knew or reasonably should have known would harm the plaintiff
- defamation: intentional publications
- privacy torts
- property: trespass, conversion
- Economic: disparagement of goods or services, tortious interfernece with contract, unfair competition.
- false imprisonment: shopkeepers privelege to detain a person upon reasonable cause, reasonable manner, reasonable time.
- each person owes you a duty to protect others from adverse consequences.
- breach of duty by doing what would not be done, failing to do what would be done, by a reasonable and prudent person under the same or similar circumstances.
Negligence cannot be shown by direct evidence?
- found by res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself)
- negligence per se
res ipsa loquitur
- even was the done what does not occur in the absence of negligence
- conduct of third parties and plaintiff have been eliminated
- indicated negligence is within the scope of defendant's duty to plaintiff.
Negligence per se
inherent negligence without the necessity of invoking reasonable and prude person standard.
Defenses to negligent torts
- assumption of risk: voluntary unreasonable, known risk
- contributory negligence: determination that the plaintiff's negligence contributed to her or his injury.
- comparative negligence: to simply things, to ensure a more just or equitable result.
Comparative negligence: examples
- pure: the defendant is liable for whatever percentage is assigned to her or him.
- modified: as above, but before the plaintiff can recover anything, the defendan must be found to be more than 50% at fault.
Strict Liability Tort
- liability is imposed without regard to fault.
- ex. blasting in a pouplated area, keeping wild animals, crop dusting, maufacture of firewords, and in some instances, setting off fireworks.
- applied in the area of workers compensation.