Overview • Court help decide on jurisdictional issue • Court assist in interpreting legislation and applying the law to the environmental disputes • Courts also serve as place where environmental issue can be challenged • Court give out verdicts on disputes
Tort Law… A body of rights, obligations, and remedies that is applied by courts in civil proceedings to provide relief for persons who have suffered harm from the wrongful acts of others.
Plaintiff vs. Tortfeasor • The person who sustains injury or suffers pecuniary damage as the result of tortious conduct is known as the plaintiff, • and the person who is responsible for inflicting the injury and incurs liability for the damage is known as the defendant or tortfeasor.
Three elements must be established in every tort action • First, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant was under a legal duty to act in a particular fashion.
2. Second, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached this duty by failing to conform his or her behaviour accordingly. 3. Third, the plaintiff must prove that he suffered injury or loss as a direct result of the defendant's breach.
Tort vs Criminal Act • The law of torts is derived from a combination of common-law principles and legislative enactments. • Common Law = judge made law
Tort vs Criminal Act-Cont • Unlike actions for breach of contract, tort actions are not dependent upon an agreement between the parties to a lawsuit. • Unlike criminal prosecutions, which are brought by the government, tort actions are brought by private citizens.
Tort vs Criminal Act-Cont • Remedies for tortious acts include money damages and injunctions (court orders compelling or forbidding particular conduct). • Tortfeasorsare subject not subjected to incarceration in civil court.
The Many Law Suits in US • Over the last century, tort law has touched on nearly every aspect of life in the United States. • In economic affairs, tort law provides remedies for businesses that are harmed by the unfair and deceptive trade practices of a competitor.
The Many Law Suits in US • In the workplace, tort law protects employees from the intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress. • Tort law also helps regulate the environment, providing remedies against both individuals and businesses that pollute the air, land, and water to such an extent that it amounts to a Nuisance.
What is Nuisance • Nuisance allows a plaintiff to sue if there has been an unreasonable interference with use or enjoyment of property. • Two type of Nuisances • Public • Private
Public Vs Private Public Nuisance Private Nuisance Occurs when a group’s and or community’s use and enjoyment of property has been unreasonably interfered with. • Occurs when an individual’s right to use and enjoy property has been unreasonably interfered with.
Court and Nuisance • Legal Responsibility • the defendant's fault • whether there has been a substantial interference with the plaintiff's interest, • and the reasonableness of the defendant's conduct.
1. Fault Means that the defendant intentionally, negligently, or recklessly interfered with the plaintiff's use and enjoyment of the land or that the defendant continued her conduct after learning of actual harm or substantial risk of future harm to the plaintiff's interest
2. Substantial Interference • Determining substantial interference in cases where the physical condition of the property is affected will often be fairly straightforward. • More challenging are those cases predicated on personal inconvenience, discomfort, or annoyance. • To determine whether an interference is substantial, • courts apply the standard of an ordinary member of the community with normal sensitivity and temperament
3. Reasonableness of Defendant's Conduct • The nature and gravity of the harm is balanced against the burden of preventing the harm and the usefulness of the conduct. • The following are factors to be considered: • Extent and duration of the disturbance; • Nature of the harm; • Social value of the plaintiff's use of his or her property or other interest; • Burden to the plaintiff in preventing the harm; • Value of the defendant's conduct, in general and to the particular community; • Motivation of the defendant; • Feasibility of the defendant's mitigating or preventing the harm;.
Defence Under Nuisance • Defendant may argue that legislation authorizes a particular activity • A defendant may not escape liability by arguing that others are also contributing to the harm • Defendants sometimes argue that a plaintiff "came to a nuisance" by moving onto land next to an already operating source of interference.
Tort, Nuisance & Negligence • Negligence is when the defendant did not live up to the required standards of care. • In case of negligence the following must be proven: • Defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff • The action/harm was foreseeable (reasonably expected to occur) • That the defendants actions or inactions caused the damage
Trespass Occurs when someone intentionally enters onto another person’s property or allows some material to be placed on the property.
Strict Liability One person may be required to compensate another for injury or damages even though the loss was neither intentionally nor negligently inflicted.
Rylands v. Fletcher • "In the case of Rylands v. Fletcher the defendant's underground water reservoir caused an old mine shaft owned by the plaintiff to collapse. Although the court found that Mr. Rylands and Mr. Horrocks (the defendants) were not negligent, they were still strictly liable for damages. Mr. Justice Blackburn stated“ 'We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and, if he does not do so, he is answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of his escape.
Remedies in Tort Law • Financial compensation for damages. Often hard to calculate accurately. • A common remedy in environmental lawsuits is an injunction. Which is an order of the court requires a party to either do or not do a certain action. For example: stop dumping a particular substance into a water system.