Cloned from: Themis MBE Torts

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Prima facie case for intentional torts
Proof of an act, intent, and causation
Act is intentional if done deliberately and purposefully.

Actor desires to cause the consequences of his act, or the actor knows with substantial certainty that the conduct will result in the ensuing consequences.
Intent for minors and incompetents
Majority view: Minors and incompetents are capable of having the necessary requisite intent and can be held liable for their intentional torts.
Transferred intent
Exists when a person intends to commit an intentional tort against one person, but instead commits either:
  • a different intentional tort against that person,
  • the intended tort against a different person, or
  • a different intentional tort against a different person
Torts to which transferred intent appliles
Only applies when the intended tort and resulting tort are:
  • assault
  • battery
  • false imprisonment
  • trespass to land
  • trespass to chattels
Harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff's person caused by the defendant's intentional act.

Plaintiff need not be aware of the contact when it occurs.
Harmfun or offensive contact
Contact is harmful or offensive when a reasonable person would find the contact harmful or offensive.

Not applicable if Plaintiff consents, either expressly or by virtue of participating in a particular event or situation.

Defendant may be liable if he is aware victim is hypersensitive but acts nonetheless.
Damages for battery
No proof of harm is required - may recover nominal damages.

Many states allow recovery of punitive damages if the defendant acted with malice.
Occurs when defendant's intentional overt act causes the plaintiff to experience reasonable apprehension of an imminent battery.
Overt act
Words alone are not enough, but words paired with conduct or other circumstances may be sufficient.
Reasonable apprehension
Plaintiff's apprehension must be reasonable, and he must be aware or have knowledge of the defendant's act.

Defendant's apparent ability to cause harm can be sufficient.
No proof of harm is required - nominal damanges are available, and in many states, punitive damages may be imposed if defendant acted with malice.
False imprisonment
Results when a person acts:
  • intending to confine or restrain;
  • another person;
  • to a bounded area; and
  • those actions directly or indirectly result in such confinement
Sufficient methods to confine or restrain
  • Use of physical barriers
  • physical force
  • direct or indirect threats (to plaintiff, a third party, or plaintiff's property)
  • failure to provide a means of escape
  • invalid use of legal authority
Shopkeeper's Privilege
Shopkeeper's reasonable (in both duration and manner) detention of a suspected shoplifter is not an invalid use of authority, and hence not false imprisonment.
Plaintiff must be conscious of the confinement.

Alternately, under the Restatement, plaintiff who is unaware of the confinement must suffer actual harm.
Bounded area
One within which plaintiff's freedom of movement in all directions is limited.

Area is not bounded if there is a reasonable means of safe escape.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Defendant is liable for intentionally or recklessly acting with extreme or outrageous conduct, which conduct causes the plaintiff severe emotional distress.
Defendant must intend to cause severe emotional distress, or must act with recklessness as to the risk of causing such distress.

Transferred intent does not apply.
Extreme or outrageous conduct
Conduct is extreme or outrageous if it exceeds the possible limits of human decency, so as to be entirely intolerable in a civilized society.

Conduct that is not necessarily outrageous may become so if it is: continuous, directed at a member of a group with a known heightened sensitivity; or committed by a common carrier or innkeeper.
Liability for acts directed at third parties
When a defendant's conduct is directed at a third party victim, that defendant is liable if he intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to:
  • a member of the victim's immediate family who is present at the time of defendant's conduct and defendant is aware of presence; or
  • any other bystander who is present and defendant is aware of presence when the distress results in bodily injury.
Plaintiff may establish causation by showing that the defendant's actions were a substantial factor in creating plaintiff's distress.
Causation for bystander emotional distress
When defendant has caused severe physical harm to a third party and the plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result, plaintiff can recover if:
  • Plaintiff was present when defendant inflicted the harm;
  • plaintiff was a close relative to the injured person; and
  • defendant had knowledge of both of the above facts.
Plaintiff need not prove the above if defendant's design or purpose was to cause severe distress to plaintiff.
Must prove actual damages, but need not prove physical injury.
Trespass to land
Defendant's intentional act causes a physical invasion of the land of another.
"Physical invasion"
Defendant need not personally enter onto the land. 

Failure to leave after lawful right of entry has expired constitutes physical invasion.
Anyone in actual or constructive possession of land may bring an action for trespass.
No proof of actual damages is required.
Trespass to chattels
Liable if defendant intentionally commits an act that interferes with a plaintiff's right of possession of teh chattel and causes damage.
Only requires intent to do the interfering act. 

Mistake as to lawfulness of defendant's activities does not negate intent.
Defendant interferes with plaintiff's right of possession by either:
  • dispossessing plaintiff of her chattels; or
  • using or intermeddling with plaintiff's chattels
Action may be brough by anyone with possession or the immediate right to possession of the chattel.
Dispossession:  Plaintiff must prove damages by either:
  • actual amount caused by the interference; or
  • the loss of use.
Intermeddling: Plaintiff must show actual damages.
Plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for diminution in value, cost of repair, and/or reasonable rental value.
Defendant is liable if he intentionally commits an act of possession or interference with the plaintiff's chattel so serious that he deprives plaintiff of the chattel and must pay its full value as of the time of the conversion.
Defendant must only intend to commit the act that interferes - intent to cause damange is not necessary.

Mistake of law or fact is no defense.

Accidentally damaging plaintiff's chattel is not conversion if the defendant had permission to be using the property.
Defendant interferes with chattel by exercising dominion or control over it.

If acquisition was not wrongful, there must be a demand for the return of the chattel before the plaintiff may sue for conversion.
Factors to consider in deciding whether behavior constitutes conversion
  • Duration and extent of interference;
  • Defendant's intent to assert a right inconsistent with the rightful possessor;
  • defendant's good faith;
  • expense or inconvenience to the plaintiff; and
  • extent of the harm to the chattel.
Plaintiff may receive damages in the amount of the full value of teh converted property at the time of the conversion.

Alternatively, Plaintiff may bring an action for replevin to recover the chattel.
Defenses to intentional torts
  • Consent
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Defense of property
  • Recapture of chattels
  • Parental discipline
  • Necessity
  • Privilege of Arrest
Express consent
Plaintiff expressly consents if she, by words or actions, manifests the willingness to submit to the defendant's conduct.

Defendant's conduct may not exceed the scope of the consent.
Consent by mistake
Still valid consent unless defendant caused the mistake or knew of it and took advantage.
Consent by fraud
Invalid if it goes to an essential matter. 

If the fraud that induced the consent goes to a collateral matter, consent is still valid.
Consent by duress
Not valid.  However, threat must be present.
Implied consent (generally)
Consent is implied when the plaintiff is silent in a situation when a reasonable person would object to the defendant's actions.
Consent implied by law
May be implied by law in situations when action is necessary to save a person's life or some other important interest.
Consent implied by custom
Consent may be implied by custome (e.g., participation in a contact sport)
Capacity to consent
Youth, intoxication, and incompetence each prevent a person from being able to give valid consent.
Self-defense (non-deadly force)
Person may use non-deadly force to defend against an offensive contact or bodily harm that he reasonably believes is about to be intentionally inflicted upon him.

Mistaken belief that he is in danger does not invalidate the defense
Self-defense (deadly force)
May use deadly force only if he has a reasonable belief that force sufficient to cause serious bodily injury or death is about to be intentionally inflicted upon him.

Generally, self-defense force must be proportionate to the anticipated harm.
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