Notes on Torts, Negligence, and Strict Liability

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* A tort (in French, meaning “wrong”) is a wrong or injury to another than a breach of contract I. Introduction to Tort Law
* Tort Law’s primary objective is to provide compensation for injured parties. * Secondary objective is that it discourages private retaliation by injured person’s and their friends * Third objective is that it satisfies our collective sense of right and wrong by providing that someone who creates harm should make things right by compensating those harmed II. Classification of Torts

* In the US, torts are classified as intentional, negligent, or strict liability. * Negligent Torts occur when the defendant acts in a way that subjects other people to an unreasonable risk of harm * Strict-Liability Torts occur when the defendant takes an action that is inherently dangerous and cannot ever be undertaken safely, no matter what precautions the defendant takes * Intentional Torts occur when the defendant takes an action intending certain consequences or knowing they are likely to result * The more “willful” of torts, share the common element of intent. This intent is not harm but rather to engage in a specific act, which ultimately results in injury, physical or economical, to another. Motive is not required to prove liability in an intentional court case. Assumes that people intend the normal consequences of their actions. * Intentional torts are divided into three types:

1. Intentional torts against persons - intentional acts that harm an individual’s physical or mental integrity. A. Assault and Battery – An assault occurs when one person places another in fear or apprehension (apprehension does not equal fear) of an immediate, offensive bodily contact. An assault is often (not always) followed by a battery, an intentional, unwanted, offensive bodily contact. A limited number of defenses are available to an action for a battery; consent mitigates (lessens) the element of the unwanted, self- defense (most common) is responding the force of another with comparable force to defend yourself, defense of others, or defense of property where you can use reasonable force to defend your property from an intruder. B. Defamation - defamation is the intentional publication (or communication to a third party) of a false statement harmful to an individual’s reputation. Anyone who, in any matter, repeats the defamatory statement is also liable for defamation, even if he or she cites the original source of the defamation. If the defamation is published in a permanent form, such as in a magazine or on the radio (since everything is recorded), it is known as libel. If it is made orally it is slander. If there is no harm to the slandered person, there is not cause for compensation. Slander per se are statements so inherently harmful that general damages are presumed. A person accused of defamation can raise two defenses: truth is frequently considered an absolute defense and privilege is an affirmative defense (occurs when the defendant admits to the accusation but argues that there is a reason he should not be held liable) in a defamation action. A privilege is either absolute or conditional. A person with absolute privilege cannot be sued for defamation for any false statements made, regardless of intent or knowledge of their falsity. In conditional privilege, a party will not be held liable for defamation unless the false statement was made with actual malice (with either knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard to its truth). Another conditional privilege is the public figure privilege, where we do not hold people liable for making false statements about them as long as the statements were not made with malice. C. Privacy Torts

a. False light occurs when publicity about a person creates an impression about that individual that is not valid. b....
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