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actionable
Capable of serving as the basis of a lawsuit. An actionable claim can be pursued in a lawsuit or other court action.
actual malice
The deliberate intent to cause harm, which exists when a person makes a statement either knowing that it is false or showing a reckless disregard for whether it is true. In a defamation suit, a statement made about a public figure normally must be made with actual malice for the plaintiff to recover damages.
appropriation
In tort law, the use by one person of another person's name, likeness, or other identifying characteristic without permission and for the benefit of the user.
assault
Any word or action intended to make another person fearful of immediate physical harm a reasonably believable threat.
assumption of risk
A doctrine under which a plaintiff may not recover for injuries or damage suffered from risks he or she knows of and has voluntarily assumed.
battery
The unprivileged, intentional touching of another.
business invitee
A person, such as a customer or a client, who is invited onto business premises by the owner of those premises for business purposes.
business tort
Wrongful interference with another's business rights.
causation in fact
An act or omission without which an event would not have occurred.
comparative negligence
A rule in tort law that reduces the plaintiff's recovery in proportion to the plaintiff's degree of fault, rather than barring recovery completely used in the majority of states.
compensatory damages
A rule in tort law that completely bars the plaintiff from recovering any damages if the damage suffered is partly the plaintiff's own fault used in a minority of states.
conversion
Wrongfully taking or retaining possession of an individual's personal property and placing it in the service of another.
cyber tort
A tort committed in cyberspace.
damages
Money sought as a remedy for a breach of contract or a tortious action.
defamation
Anything published or publicly spoken that causes injury to another's good name, reputation, or character.
defense
A reason offered and alleged by a defendant in an action or suit as to why the plaintiff should not recover or establish what she or he seeks.
disparagement of property
An economically injurious falsehood made about another's product or property a general term for torts that are more specifically referred to as slander of quality or slander of title.
dram shop act
A state statute that imposes liability on the owners of bars and taverns, as well as those who serve alcoholic drinks to the public, for injuries resulting from accidents caused by intoxicated persons when the sellers or servers of alcoholic drinks contributed to the intoxication.
duty of care
The duty of all persons, as established by tort law, to exercise a reasonable amount of care in their dealings with others. Failure to exercise due care, which is normally determined by the reasonable person standard, constitutes the tort of negligence.
fraudulent misrepresentation
Any misrepresentation, either by misstatement or by omission of a material fact, knowingly made with the intention of deceiving another and on which a reasonable person would and does rely to his or her detriment.
Good Samaritan statute
A state statute stipulating that persons who provide emergency services to, or rescue, someone in peril cannot be sued for negligence, unless they act recklessly, thereby causing further harm.
intentional tort
A wrongful act knowingly committed.
libel
Defamation in writing or other form having the quality of permanence (such as a digital recording).
malpractice
Professional misconduct or the lack of the requisite degree of skill as a professional. Negligence-the failure to exercise due care-on the part of a professional, such as a physician, is commonly referred to as malpractice.
negligence
The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances.
negligence per se
An action or failure to act in violation of a statutory requirement.
predatory behavior
Business behavior that is undertaken with the intention of unlawfully driving competitors out of the market.
privilege
A legal right, exemption, or immunity granted to a person or a class of persons. In the context of defamation, an absolute privilege immunizes the person making the statements from a lawsuit, regardless of whether the statements were malicious.
proximate cause
Legal cause exists when the connection between an act and an injury is strong enough to justify imposing liability.
puffery
A salesperson's often exaggerated claims concerning the quality of property offered for sale. Such claims involve opinions rather than facts and are not considered to be legally binding promises or warranties.
puffery
A salesperson's often exaggerated claims concerning the quality of property offered for sale. Such claims involve opinions rather than facts and are not considered to be legally binding promises or warranties.
punitive damages
Monetary damages that may be awarded to a plaintiff to punish the defendant and deter future similar conduct.
reasonable person standard
The standard of behavior expected of a hypothetical "reasonable person" the standard against which negligence is measured and that must be observed to avoid liability for negligence.
res ipsa loquitur
A doctrine under which negligence may be inferred simply because an event occurred, if it is the type of event that would not occur in the absence of negligence. Literally, the term means "the facts speak for themselves."
slander
Defamation in oral form.
slander of quality (trade libel)
The publication of false information about another's product, alleging that it is not what its seller claims.
slander of title
The publication of a statement that denies or casts doubt on another's legal ownership of any property, causing financial loss to that property's owner.
spam
Bulk, unsolicited ("junk") e-mail.
strict liability
Liability regardless of fault. In tort law, strict liability is imposed on a manufacturer or seller that introduces into commerce a good that is unreasonably dangerous when in a defective condition.
tort
A civil wrong not arising from a breach of contract a breach of a legal duty that proximately causes harm or injury to another.
tortfeasor
One who commits a tort.
trade libel
The publication of false information about another's product, alleging that it is not what its seller claims.
trespass to land
The entry onto, above, or below the surface of land owned by another without the owner's permission or legal authorization.
trespass to personal property
The unlawful taking or harming of another's personal property interference with another's right to the exclusive possession of his or her personal property.
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