Chapter 6 notes
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Date Created: 10/11/15
Chapter 6 BLAW Tort Law Notes Tort law definition A tort in common law jurisdictions is a civil wrong that unfairly causes someone else to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act called a tortfeasor The following will help you understand the types of torts discussed in Chapter 6 The concepts are discussed in detail and give the appropriate page numbers where there is a page number to address to enhance your knowledge of these terms and how they may be used Start by identifying and defining the torts that protect against the intentional interference with persons An intentional tort as the term implies required intent The tortfeasor the one committing the tort must intent to commit an act the consequences of which interfere with another s personal or business interests in a way not permitted by law The torts listed in chapter 6 are as follows 0 An assault is any intentional and unexcused threat of immediate harmful or offensive contact words or acts that create a reasonably believable threat 0 If the act that created in apprehension is completed and returns in harm to the plaintiff it is a battery an unexcused and harmful or offensive physical contact intentionally performed 0 False imprisonment is the intentional confinement or restraint of another person s activities without justification False imprisonment interferes with the freedom to move without restraint 0 The tort of intentional in iction of emotional distress involves an intentional act that amounts to extreme and outrageous conduct resulting in severe emotional distress to another To be actionable capable of serving as the ground for lawsuit the act must be extreme and outrageous to the point that it exceeds the bounds of decency accepted by society 0 Defamation of character involves wrongfully hurting a person s good reputation The law imposes a general duty on all persons to refrain from making false defamatory statements of fact about others 0 A person has a right to solitude and freedom from prying public eyes in other words to privacy Some state constitutions explicitly provide for privacy rights as do a number of federal and state statutes Tort law also safeguards theses rights throughout the tort of invasion of privacy 0 A misrepresentation leads another to believe in a condition that is different from the condition that actually exists Although persons sometimes make misrepresentations accidentally because they are unaware of the existing facts the tort of fraudulent misrepresentation or fraud involves intentional deceit for personal gain 0 Tort law recognizes that the people have a right not to be sued without a legally just and proper reason It therefore protects individuals from the misuse of litigation If the party that initiated the lawsuit did so out of malice and without legitimate legal reason and ended up losing that suit the party can be sued for malicious prosecutions Pages 120126 Identify and describe defenses to assault and battery 0 Even if a plaintiff proves all the elements of a tort the defendant can raise a number of legally recognized defenses reasons why the plaintiff should not obtain damages The defenses available may vary depending on the specific tort involved 0 A common defense to intentional torts against persons for instance is consent When a person consents to the act that damages her or him there is generally no liability 0 The most widely used defense in negligence A successful defense releases the defendant from partial or full liability for the tortious act 0 Defamation of character involves wrongfully hurting a person s good reputation The law imposes a general duty on all persons to refrain from making false defamatory statements of fact about others Pages page 120126 What is the basis for the tort of defamation Defamation of character involves wrongfully hurting a person s good reputation The law imposes a general duty on all persons to refrain from making false defamatory statements of fact about others Breaching this duty in writing or other permanent form such as a digital recording involves tort of libel Breaching this duty orally involves the tort of slander The tort of defamation also arises when a false statement of fact is made about a person s product business or legal ownership to rights of property To establish defamation a plaintiff normally must prove the following I The defendant made a false statement of fact 2 The statement was understood as being about the plaintiff and tended to harm the plaintiff s reputation 3 The statement was published to at least one person other than the plaintiff 4 If the plaintiff is a public figure she or he must prove actual malice Pages 122 Discuss the category of business tort known as wrongful interference with a contractual relationship The torts known as business torts generally involve wrongful interference with another s business rights Business torts involving wrongful interference generally fall into two categories interference with a contractual relationship and interference with a business relationship Three elements are necessary for wrongful interference with a contractual relationship to occur 6 A valid enforceable contract must exist between two parties 7 A third party must know that this contract exists 8 This third party must intentionally induce a party to the contract to breach the contract Pages 127 Identify and define the torts that protect against the intentional interference with property Intentional torts against property include trespass to land trespass to personal property conversion and disparagement of property These torts are wrongful actions that interfere with individuals legally recognized rights with regard to their land or personal property The law distinguishes real property from personal property Real property is land and things permanently attached to the land such as a house Personal property consists of all other items including cash and security ties stock bonds and other ownership interest in companies 9 Trespass to Land a trespass to land occurs when a person without permission does any of the following a Enters onto above or below the surface of land that is owned by another b Causes anything to enter onto land by another c Remains on land owned by another or permits anything to remain on it 10 Trespass to Personal ProDertv Whenever any individual wrongfully takes or harms the personal property of another or otherwise interferes with the lawful owner s possession and enjoyment of personal property In this context hard means not only destruction of the property but also anything that diminishes its value condition or quality I 1 Conversion Any act that deprives an owner of personal property or the use of that property without the owner s permission and without just cause can constitute a conversion Even the taking of electronic records and data may form the basis of a conversion claim Often when conversion occurs a trespass to personal property also occurs because the original taking of the personal property from the owner was a trespass Wrongfully retaining the property is conversion 12 Disnaragement of ProDertv occurs when economically injurious falsehoods are made about another s product or property rather than about another s reputation slander as in the tort of defamation Pages 128130 What is appropriation Appropriation of identity is using a person s name picture likeness or other identifiable characteristics for commercial purposes Without permission is also an invasion of privacy An individual s right to privacy normally includes the right to the exclusive use of her or his identity Most states today have codified the common laW tort of appropriation of identity in statues that establish the distinct tort of appropriation or right of publicity States differ as to the degree of likeness that is required to impose liability for appropriation however Pages 126