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Introduction to tort law. Aim: How do we examine the nature or tort law? Do Now: Review the Difference between civil and criminal law: www.baserlawprogram.com. The differences between civil and criminal law. Definition of a Tort.

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introduction to tort law
Introduction to tort law
  • Aim: How do we examine the nature or tort law?
  • Do Now: Review the Difference between civil and criminal law:
  • www.baserlawprogram.com
definition of a tort
Definition of a Tort
  • There is no definition of a tort. The best we can do is identify a few main features:
  • A. Not Contractual
  • B. Compensation for unreasonable harm.
    • Societal Standard: unreasonableness of harm is measured from a social utility standpoint.
    • Economic efficiency: incentive to ensure costs of activity do not outweigh the benefits. Tort law addresses cases where defendant gets burden but costs are imposed on third parties.
  • C. Shifting of burden: impose the cost of accidents on those that can afford them.
  • D. Conflict: economic efficiency and shifting the burden are often at odds with each other. Tort reform is aimed at resolving these conflicts.
consider this
Consider this:
  • Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. v. American Cyanamid Co.,

916 F.2d 1174, 32 ERC 1228, 59 USLW 2295 (7th Cir. 1990)

Important Points on how to read a case:

  • Who is the Plaintiff:
  • Who is the Defendant:
  • Where can the cause be found?
  • In what year was it decided?
  • In what court was this case decided?
categories of torts
Categories of Torts
  • Categorized depending upon the nature of defendant’s conduct.
  • 1. INTENTIONAL TORTS
  • 2. NEGLIGENCE
  • 3. STRICT LIABILITY
analyzing tort problems
Analyzing Tort Problems
  • 1. Basic Requirements: Are the basic requirements (prima facie case) for the tort satisfied?
  • 2. Are Defenses Available: Are there any defenses or justifications which the defendant can raise that would prevent him from being liable.
  • 3. What damages: if a prima facie case has been established and no defenses or justification are available what elements of damages may the defendant recover (e.g., medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, punitive, etc.)
crime v tort
Crime v. Tort
  • A crime is a wrong arising from a violation of a public duty.  A tort is a wrong arising from the violation of a private duty.  Again, however, a crime can also constitute a tort.  For example, assault is a tort, but it is also a crime.  A person who is assaulted may bring criminal charges against the assailant and may also sue the assailant for damages under tort law. 
extension
Extension:

Complete the questions for consideration

Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. v. American Cyanamid Co.,

916 F.2d 1174, 32 ERC 1228, 59 USLW 2295 (7th Cir. 1990)