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BUS 115 Chap006 tort law


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BUS 115 Chap006 tort law

  1. 1. Chapter 6 Tort Law 6-1
  2. 2. Tort Law Defined • Tort – Private wrong that injures another person’s physical well-being, emotional health, business, property, or reputation • Tortfeasor – Person who commits a tort 6-4
  3. 3. Tort Law Versus Criminal Law • The primary purpose is to compensate for the injured party’s loss • Also can serve to deter future tortious behavior 6-5
  4. 4. Respondeat Superior • Doctrine of respondeat superior (vicarious liability) – Employers might have to pay for their employees’ torts if the tort is committed while working for the business • respondeat superior – “let the master respond” 6-6
  5. 5. The Necessary Elements • A Duty – Obligation placed on individuals because of the law • Breach of that duty – Intentional – Negligent – Strict liability • Proximate Cause • Injury 6-7
  6. 6. Intentional Torts • An Assault – Victim is placed in fear or apprehension of immediate bodily harm by a tortfeasor who has the present apparent ability to inflict that harm – No actual physical contact is needed • A Battery – Involves an offensive or harmful, unprivileged touching 6-8
  7. 7. Case: Garratt v. Dailey (Wash. 1955) • Dailey (age 5) pulls a chair out from under Garratt, causing her to break her hip. • Garratt sues for battery • Trial court rules for Dailey, saying he didn’t intend the injury, appealed • Issue: – If defendant behaved with substantial certainty that contact would result, then battery occurred. 6-9
  8. 8. Case: Vosburg v. Putney (Wisc. 1891) • • • • • Vosberg (P) has injury to knee Putnye (D) kicked P lightly in same knee P’s condition worsened and lost use of the leg P sues Issue: Is D liable for damages arising from unforeseen injuries? • Finding: Yes, intention to do harm is the wrongful act, D responsible for resulting injuries • *Eggshell skull rule 6-10
  9. 9. Intentional Torts • False Imprisonment – When one party prevents another party from moving about freely – merchant’s exception • Defamation – Any false statement communicated to others that harms a person’s good name or reputation – Slander – temporary form (speech) – Libel – permanent (writing, movies, DVD, etc.) 6-11
  10. 10. Defamation • Under common law, suit can be brought even if no loss occurred if it involves an accusation of: 1. Committing a serious crime 2. Having a communicable disease 3. Engaging in business, trade, or professional improprieties 4. An unmarried female being unchaste 6-12
  11. 11. 6-13
  12. 12. Case: Falwell v. Hustler Magazine (1988) • Parody ad in Hustler portraying Falwell talking about his “first time” with Campari • Falwell sues for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress • Lower court awards $200,000, appealed to Supreme court • Finding: Falwell is a public figure, the ad is not reasonably believable, Hustler therefore protected under 1st Amendment 6-14
  13. 13. Intentional Torts • Disparagement – False statement that questions the quality of property or raises uncertainty about legal ownership of property – Plaintiff usually has to demonstrate monetary loss to recover damages • Defamation vs Disparagement – Person vs Property/Product 6-15
  14. 14. Intentional Torts • Fraudulent misrepresentation (Fraud) – False statements, actions, or a combination thereof, are made by one party in a way that causes another party to rely on those misrepresentations and then suffers an injury or loss as a result. 6-16
  15. 15. Intentional Torts Invasion of Privacy • Revelation of confidential records – If a person, working with confidential information, illegally reveals it (example: health records, etc.) • Intrusion – An unwarranted intrusion into a person’s expectation of privacy – NC “peeping tom” law 6-17
  16. 16. Intentional Torts Invasion of Privacy (cont.) • Creating a false light – Publication of information about a person that paints him/her in an unfavorable way • Exploitation – Using an individual’s photo, likeness, or name without permission for advertising, marketing, or publicity – Individuals have the right to use their own likeness to make money 6-18
  17. 17. Intentional Torts • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – Someone who intentionally or recklessly causes another individual to undergo emotional or mental suffering will be responsible, even without an accompanying physical injury – The actions complained of must be extreme and outrageous and cause severe emotional suffering 6-19
  18. 18. Intentional Torts • Misuse of legal procedure – Someone brings a legal action with malice and without probable cause – Wrongful civil proceedings – civil suit – Malicious prosecution – criminal charges • Abuse of process – When a legal process is used as a tactic to pressure someone to do something he/she would not normally do 6-20
  19. 19. Elements of Negligence Legal duty Breach of duty Proximate cause Actual harm 6-21
  20. 20. Legal Duty • Legal Duty – A question of whether the tortfeasor should have reasonably foreseen a risk of harm to the injured party – Legal obligation imposed on an individual requiring that they adhere to a reasonable standard of care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others 6-22
  21. 21. Breach of Duty • Breach of Duty – Tortfeasor has not met appropriate standard of care Standard of care - Based on reasonable person test 6-23
  22. 22. Proximate Cause • Proximate Cause – Connection between the unreasonable conduct and the resulting harm. – Conduct must be the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries. – Was the harm from the conduct foreseeable at the time of the original action? 6-24
  23. 23. Actual Harm • Actual harm must occur – Physical harm relatively easy to prove – Emotional harm harder to prove 6-25
  24. 24. Defenses to Negligence • Contributory negligence – Failure of the injured party to be careful enough to ensure his or her personal safety – If successful, prevents injured party from receiving damages – Tortfeasor may be held liable if can prove that he/she had the last clear chance to avoid injury 6-26
  25. 25. Defenses to Negligence • Comparative negligence – Statutes that require courts to assign damages according to the degree of fault of each party – Ex: if I am 20% at fault for my own injury, can only recover 80% of the loss – 50% rule – some states have adopted, says that if injured party is found to be more than 50% negligent, cannot recover any damages 6-27
  26. 26. Defenses to Negligence • Assumption of the risk – Involves the voluntary exposure of the victim to a known risk – If injured party was aware of the danger, and by his/her actions indicated a willingness to be exposed to that danger, then he/she assumed the risk – Key issues would be injured party’s awareness of the extent of the danger, and voluntarily entering the situation 6-28
  27. 27. Strict Liability • Strict Liability – Court could hold a tortfeasor liable even though the tortfeasor did not intend the harm and was not in any way negligent – Generally applied when the harm results from an ultrahazardous or very dangerous activity (using explosives, keeping wild animals, etc.) 6-29
  28. 28. Strict Liability • Product liability – legal theory that imposes liability on the manufacturer and seller of a product produced and sold in a defective condition • A product in defective condition is unreasonably dangerous to the user, to the consumer, or to property 6-30
  29. 29. Electronic Torts • An cybertort – involves the invasion, distortion, theft, falsification, misuse, destruction, or financial exploitation of information stored in or related to an electronic device, including but not limited to desktop PCs, laptops, mobile phones, mainframes, phonecams, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and home computers that stand alone or are part of a network 6-31
  30. 30. Electronic Torts • Cyberdefamation – the communication of false and destructive information about an individual through the use of an electronic device 6-32
  31. 31. Electronic Torts • Cyberdisparagement – involves any false statement communicated to others on the Internet that in some way casts doubt on the quality of an item of property or a product offered for sale • Cyber invasion of privacy – the unwelcome intrusion into private matters initiated or maintained by an electronic device 6-33
  32. 32. Remedies for Torts • Economic compensatory damages – those that are directly quantifiable • Noneconomic compensatory damages – those that result from injuries that are intangible and therefore not directly quantifiable • Punitive damages – designed to punish the tortfeasor so that similar malicious actions are avoided by others 6-34
  33. 33. Remedies for Torts • An Injunction – a court order preventing someone from performing a particular act 6-35
  34. 34. Survival Statutes • Survival statutes allow a lawsuit to be brought even if both the plaintiff and the defendant are deceased • Wrongful death statutes preserve the right to bring a lawsuit only if the death is caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of the person who caused the death 6-36
  35. 35. The Tort Reform Movement • Statutes of repose establish a limit in years, usually but not necessarily 15 years, beyond which an injured party could not bring a lawsuit for an injury caused by a product. • The limitation would be placed on end users. 6-37
  36. 36. Question? When one party prevents another party from moving about freely it is called _________. A. Duty B. False imprisonment C. Tort D. Detention 6-38
  37. 37. Question? What is an obligation placed on individuals because of the law? A. Tort B. Admission C. Duty D. Function 6-39
  38. 38. Question? What is a court order preventing someone from performing a particular act? A. Sanction B. Injunction C. Ruling D. Embargo 6-40
  39. 39. Question? Which defense of negligence involves the failure of the injured party to be careful enough to ensure his or her personal safety? A. Assumption of the risk B. Comparative negligence C. Contributory negligence D. Causative negligence 6-41
  40. 40. Question? Which defense of negligence requires courts to assign damages according to the degree of fault of each party? A. Assumption of the risk B. Comparative negligence C. Contributory negligence D. Causative negligence 6-42
  41. 41. Question? What is a private wrong that injures another person’s physical well-being, emotional health, business, property, or reputation? A. Duty B. Crime C. Fault D. Tort 6-43