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Chapter 4 Torts and Cyber Torts. Learning Objectives. What is the purpose of tort law? What types of damages are available in tort lawsuits? What are two basic categories of torts? What is defamation? Name two types of defamation. . Learning Objectives.

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learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • What is the purpose of tort law? What types of damages are available in tort lawsuits?
  • What are two basic categories of torts?
  • What is defamation? Name two types of defamation. 
learning objectives1
Learning Objectives
  • Identify the four elements of negligence.
  • What is meant by strict liability? In what circumstances is strict liability applied?
the basis of tort law
The Basis of Tort Law
  • A tort is a private, civil legal action to obtain monetary damages from a legal injury a person or property.
  • Damages:
    • Compensatory Damages: actual losses. Puts plaintiff in position he would have been in if the tort had not occurred. 
the basis of tort law1
The Basis of Tort Law
  • Damages:
    • Special Damages: quantifiable such as lost wages, medical bills. General Damages: nonmonetary losses such as pain and suffering.
    • Punitive Damages: punish wrongdoer, typically only available in intentional torts.
the basis of tort law2
The Basis of Tort Law
  • Plaintiff (injured party) sues the Defendant (tortfeasor).
  • Classification of Torts:
    • Intentional.
    • Unintentional (negligence-no fault).
    • Strict Liability (absolute liability).
intentional torts against persons
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Assault and Battery.
    • Assault: the reasonable apprehension or fear of immediate contact.
    • Battery: completion (contact) of the assault. 
intentional torts against persons1
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Assault and Battery.
    • No motive is necessary, and plaintiff can be compensated for emotional harm.
    • Defenses:
      • Consent.
      • Self-Defense and Others.
      • Defense of Property.
intentional torts against persons2
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • False Imprisonment.
    • Confinement or restraint without justification. Merchants can detain a suspected shoplifter as long as there is probable cause.
    • CASE 4.1 Shoyoye v. County of Los Angeles (2012). Do you agree with the verdict in favor of Shoyoye?
intentional torts against persons3
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Infliction of Emotional Distress.
    • Extreme and outrageous conduct.
    • Some courts require physical symptoms.
intentional torts against persons4
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation:
    • The publication of a false statement (oral or written) that injures a person’s good reputation.
    • Slander is oral, Libel is written. Statements made on the internet may be libel. 
intentional torts against persons5
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation:
    • Statement of Fact or Opinion? Opinions are free speech and generally not actionable.
      • CASE 4.2 Orlando v. Cole (2010). Was the attorney’s statement to the reporter a statement of fact or opinion?
intentional torts against persons6
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation:
    • Publication Requirement: third party must hear or see statement. An individual who re-publishes the statement may be liable. 
intentional torts against persons7
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation.
    • Libel Damages: presumed as a matter of law. Plaintiff need not prove she was actually injured. Reason: libel is “permanent” and continues to harm after statement made. 
intentional torts against persons8
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation.
    • Slander Damages: plaintiff must prove special damages (statement actually caused monetary loss). Reason: slander is temporary. 
intentional torts against persons9
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation: Defenses.
    • Truth is normally an absolute defense.
    • Statement was Privileged:
      • Absolute: judicial and legislative proceedings.
      • Qualified: good faith, limited.
intentional torts against persons10
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Defamation: Defenses.
    • Public Figures: plaintiff must show statement made with “actual malice” which means the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth.
intentional torts against persons11
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Invasion of the Right to Privacy.
    • Person has the right to solitude. Breach of that duty is a tort.
    • Intrusion into private affairs or seclusion.
    • False Light. 
intentional torts against persons12
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Invasion of the Right to Privacy.
    • Public disclosure of private facts.
    • Appropriation of Identity.
intentional torts against persons13
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation.
    • Intentional deception of another that causes belief in a condition that is different from the condition that already exists.
    • Requires:
      • (1) Knowing misrepresentation of fact.
      • (2) Intent to induce innocent party to rely.
intentional torts against persons14
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation.
    • Requires:
      • (3) Justifiable reliance by innocent party.
      • (4) Causation and Damages.
    • Contrast: “puffery” or statements of opinion.
intentional torts against persons15
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Abusive or Frivolous Litigation.
    • Plaintiff files suit based on malice or without a legitimate legal reason and loses the suit, he can be sued for malicious prosecution, recover costs of suit and, in some states, lost profits.
intentional torts against persons16
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Wrongful Interference.
    • With Contracts.
      • Valid, enforceable contract exists between two parties.
      • Third party knows about contract.
      • Third party intentionally causes either party to breach the original contract. 
intentional torts against persons17
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Wrongful Interference.
    • With a Business Relationship.
      • Distinguish competition vs. predatory behavior. Predatory behavior is unlawfully driving competitors out of market.
      • To prevail, Plaintiff must show Defendant targeted only Plaintiff’s customers and product. 
intentional torts against persons18
Intentional Torts Against Persons
  • Wrongful Interference: Defenses.
    • Interference was justified or permissible (bona fide competitive behavior).
intentional torts against property
Intentional Torts Against Property
  • Trespass to Land.
    • Occurs when a person, without permission, enters onto (above or below) some one else’s land; or remains on the land or permits anything to remain on the land. 
intentional torts against property1
Intentional Torts Against Property
  • Trespass to Land.
    • Actual damages or harm to the property is not required to prove trespass.
    • Defenses: Trespass was warranted or trespasser had a license (invited for limited purpose).
intentional torts against property2
Intentional Torts Against Property
  • Trespass to Personal Property.
    • Wrongfully taking or harm or interference with exclusive right of use of personal property (chattel) of another.
intentional torts against property3
Intentional Torts Against Property
  • Conversion.
    • Wrongfully taking or retaining possession of chattel and placing in service of another.
    • Good intentions are not a defense. Usually occurs with trespass to personal property.
intentional torts against property4
Intentional Torts Against Property
  • Disparagement.
    • Economically injurious falsehoods made about another’s property or product.
    • Slander of Quality (Trade Libel): false statement about another’s product that caused a third party to refrain from dealing with plaintiff, causing financial loss. 
intentional torts against property5
Intentional Torts Against Property
  • Disparagement.
    • Slander of Title: false statement about legal ownership of another’s product resulting in financial loss.
unintentional torts negligence
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Negligence occurs when plaintiff is legally injured due to defendant’s failure to live up to a reasonable standard of care causing foreseeable risk of injury.
unintentional torts negligence1
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Analysis:
    • Did defendant owe plaintiff a legal duty of care?
    • Did defendant breach that duty?
    • Did plaintiff suffer a legal injury?
    • Did defendant’s breach of duty cause plaintiff’s injury?
unintentional torts negligence2
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Duty of Care and Breach.
    • Reasonable Person Standard.
      • Duty is based on reasonable person standard.
      • How should a reasonable person have acted under the circumstances? 
unintentional torts negligence3
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Duty of Care and Breach.
    • Duty of Landowners.
      • Warn Business Invitees of risks, and keep common areas safe.
      • Exception: Obvious risks.
    • Duty of Professionals to clients (attorneys, CPA’s, doctors).
unintentional torts negligence4
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Causation.
    • To hold defendant liable, plaintiff must the tortious act was both the actual and proximate cause of the injury.
    • Causation in Fact: “but for” defendant’s act, injury would not have occurred. 
unintentional torts negligence5
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Causation.
    • Proximate Cause: defendant’s act created a foreseeable risk of injury to plaintiff (sufficient strong connection).
unintentional torts negligence6
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Injury Requirement and Damages.
    • Plaintiff must suffer a legally recognizable injury.
    • Plaintiff must show she suffered loss or harm to legally protected interest.
    • Not all injuries can be compensated.
unintentional torts negligence7
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Injury Requirement and Damages.
    • Compensatory damages are norm. Punitive damages are generally awarded only in intentional torts.
unintentional torts negligence8
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Defenses.
    • Assumption of the Risk: Not applied in emergency situations.
      • CASE 4.3 Taylor v. Baseball Club of Seattle, L.P. (2006). Does a fan assume the risk when she enters a stadium to watch a game?
unintentional torts negligence9
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Defenses.
    • Superseding Cause: Event must be unforeseeable.
    • Contributory Negligence (few jurisdictions).
unintentional torts negligence10
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Defenses.
    • Comparative Negligence (more common): as long as Plaintiff is less than 50% at fault he can recover a pro-rata share of the verdict.
unintentional torts negligence11
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Special Negligence Doctrines and Statutes.
    • Res Ipsa Loquitur.
    • Negligence Per Se.
      • Violation of law is legal breach of duty. 
unintentional torts negligence12
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Special Negligence Doctrines and Statutes.
    • Negligence Per Se. Plaintiff must show:
      • Defendant broke a law/statute.
      • Plaintiff is in special class to be protected;
      • Statute designed to prevent injury to Plaintiff.
unintentional torts negligence13
Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
  • Special Negligence Doctrines and Statutes.
    • “Danger Invites Rescue” doctrine.
    • Special Negligence Statues:
      • Dram Shop Acts.
      • Good Samaritan statutes.
strict liability
Strict Liability
  • Does not require fault, intent or breach of duty.
  • Usually involves ‘abnormally dangerous’ activities and risk cannot be prevented. 
strict liability1
Strict Liability
  • Other Applications. Product liability: manufacturers and sellers of harmful or defective products.
cyber torts
Cyber Torts
  • Torts committed on the internet are called ‘cyber torts.’
  • Identifying the Author of Online Defamation.
  • Liability of ISPs.
    • CDA limits liability.
cyber torts1
Cyber Torts
  • Liability of ISPs.
    • CDA limits liability. But ISP’s can be forced to reveal names of bloggers.
  • Spread of Spam.
    • Unsolicited “junk” emails with ads, solicitations, and other messages.
cyber torts2
Cyber Torts
  • Spread of Spam.
    • Federal CAN-SPAM Act.
    • U.S. Safe Web Act: Allows FTC to share information with foreign agencies investigating and prosecuting cyber crimes. Provides ISP’s with immunity from liability for supplying subscriber information to FTC.