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Chapter 6 Torts

A tort is a civil wrong, not a breach of contract


1. Intent- the desire to cause certain consequences or the substantial
certainty that those consequences will result from ones behavior
2. Recklessness- a conscious indifference to a known and substantial risk
of harm created by ones behavior
3. Negligence- a failure to use reasonable care
4. Strict Liability liability without fault or liability irrespective of fault
In a tort case the standard of proof a plaintiff must satisfy is the
preponderance of evidence standard, not the beyond a reasonable doubt
standard applied in criminal cases
A plaintiff who wins a tort case may receive compensatory damages for
the harm suffered as a result of the defendants act
o Most states have rules that reduce pain and suffering damages
(sometimes a maximum of 3x the cost of the damage)
If the behavior was particularly bad, the victim may also be able to recover
punitive damages
o These are designed to punish flagrant wrongdoers and deter them and
other from engaging in similar conduct in the future
o More controversial and often awarded for intentional torts rather than
negligence
o Subject to limitations -> Mathias case
Mathias (plaintiff) v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc.
o Case of recklessness
o One room had bedbugs and they could have gotten it treated for cheap
but didnt; they herded the bedbugs from one room to another;
continued to rent rooms that said did not rent infect; they told
customers the bedbugs were actually ricks; the employees were telling
customers this but since they are employees, it makes the owners
liable
o This is willful and wanton recklessness not negligence because the
motel had a reasonable certainty people would get exposed to the
bedbugs and knew they were going to be bitten; charged customers
100 per room; fraud
o Burl and Desiree Mathias were bitten by bedbugs at Motel 6 and
claimed the defendants personnel disregarded the infestation; the
plaintiffs wanted compensatory damages and punitive damages
o Federal court jury ruled in favor of the Matthiass awarding them comp.
5000 and puni. Damages 186,000
o On appeal to the US court of appeals, the defendant argued it didnt
amount to willful and wonton conduct & that the award for punitive
damages was unwarranted
o Motel 6 said it should have just been a negligence case so no punitive
damage
o The manager knew of the bedbugs and recommended to her superior
that this chain be closed

o The court said the award of punitive damages in this case serves the
purpose of limiting the defendants ability to profit from its fraud by
escaping detection and private prosecution; district courts judgment is
in favor of plaintiffs affirmed
o Motel 6 could have also been sued by someone else in the hotel who
got bitten for the exact same reason
Battery is the intentional and harmful or offensive touching of another
without his consent; contact is harmful if it produces bodily injury and
nonharmful contact is offensive to offend a reasonable sense of personal
dignity
o The intent for battery is either (1) intent to cause harmful or offensive
contact (2) intent to cause apprehension that such contact is imminent
o Plaintiff need not be aware of battery at the time it occurs
Transferred intent say you had intent to hit Joe with a marker but missed
and hit Lucy your intent is then passed on to Lucy
Defenses to battery; consent to battery but clearly not consent to be killed,
self-defense
Assault occurs when there is an intentional attempt or offer to cause a
harmful or offensive contact with another, if that attempt or offer causes
reasonable apprehension of imminent batter in the other persons mind
o Im about to be hit
o it has to be here and now; apprehension of an imminent battery; the
battery doesnt have to even happen
Most courts today allow recovery for severe emotional distress
9/22/15 Class Notes
Katko v. Briney
o Can you use deadly force to protect property NO, you can use it to
protect yourself
o Katko was in hospital for 40 days, 2 different braces for over a year, leg
shortening so permanent limp
o Served crimes and then sued the Brineys; Katko was awarded 30,000
o Court notices that in many states the Brineys would be criminally
prosecuted for what they did
Howard v. Wilson
o Statute of Limitations for most battery cases it is a year, but for most
negligence cases it is 4 years
o She tries to change her case to negligence which is clearly a battery
o The denial of motion to dismiss reversed
Lourcey v. Estate of Scarlett
o Ms. Scarlett was having a seizure and Lourcey tries to help; Mr. Scarlett
shoots Ms. Scarlett then look Lourcey straight in the eyes and shoots
himself
9/24/15 Class Notes
False imprisonment is the intentional confinement of another person for an
appreciable time (a few minutes is enough) without his consent
- In its simplest version it is kidnapping

If the escape route is reasonable, there is no false imprisonment; but if the


route is dangerous, you do not have to take it and you are confined
- You have to aware of it at the time
- Common in retail shoplifting, most retail statutes have a conditional
privilege to detain cue shoplifters under certain circumstances; you must
have reasonable and probable cause for detainment; reasonable cause
example when they walking into fitting room normal but when the come
out they have layers of clothes on trying to smuggle them out; you must
detain them in a reasonable manner and time
Pope v. Rostraver Shop and Save
-The experienced lost control specialist seemed to think pope was stealing,
seeing a protrusion and her jostling her pants
-Russell checked her receipts and asked her to lift her shift, she didnt so
Russell said he was calling the cops
-She never tested her confinement, which is usually fatal for a false
imprisonment case
-Police came 10 minutes later and didnt arrest her and said she was free to
leave at any time
-Motion for summary judgment so the law can decide on the case because
the facts match up, defendant came out on top
-Caswell case (courts decided was most similar because the plaintiff had the
option to leave when she had to move her car) and Pinkett case (rough
handling also wrongful detaining) were precedent case
-Even if she won the case for wrongful imprisonment, she would not have won
any money because of PA retail theft and immunity act that had a conditional
privilege clause
Defamation claims are recognized in order to protect the reputational
interest of the plaintiff; it is defined by (1) unprivileged (2) publication (3) of
false and defamatory (4) statements concerning another
- For civil defamation lawsuits statute of limitations lasts for a year from
when the statement was made Ex. Bill Cosby cases
- Libel anything that can be committed to permanent form (like things
tweeted or posted on a blog); it can be permanently retrieved
- Slander is the verbal version; you have to prove injury or special
damages
- Must be of and containing the plaintiff; normally group libel doesnt work
- Fictional accounts may be defamatory if a reasonable person would
identify the plaintiff as the subject of the story
- The speaker/writer would be held accountable as well as the publisher,
however the distributor (like Barnes and Nobels) is not libel for it
- Defenses and Privileges: anything said in a courtroom has privilege
We will not be tested on 196 (Defamation and the constitution) -208
Invasion of Privacy; there are 4 distinct torts
Add notes here
Interference with Property rights
Trespass involves invasion of tangible matter
Add Notes here

Private Nuisance doesnt involve physically invasion, interferes with


enjoyment of property; like some communities you cannot here a barking dog
across your property for more than 10 minutes
-Examples include smoke, noise, odor, light, vibration, however the
interference must be unreasonable and substantial
Stephens v. Pillen
-Looking for injunctive relief
Add notes here
Conversion is the defendants exercise of dominance or control over the
plaintiffs personal property without the plaintiffs consent
End of Chapter Questions
1. Shes going to leave and find another job, possibly fill for unemployment, was
inappropriate conduct so compensatory damages? She is paying her own
damages
- Definitely Battery; also embarrassment not being treated fairly
- Small town in the south
- More punitive than compensatory 40 hours a week at $8 an hour
- $448 weeks wages compensatory
- $3052 in punitive damages
- $3500/7 is $500