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Lecture 4

Week 4- Unintentional Torts (Chapter 5).doc

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Administrative Studies
ADMS 2610
William Pomerantz

4.1 Chapter 5 Unintentional Torts REVIEW OFTORTS Intentional Torts - done something to someone on purpose - Assault and battery - False imprisonment - Defamation - Slander - Libel Unintentional Torts Concept of Tort Liability - vicarious liability - Strict liability Negligence - Proximity cause - Duty of Care - Foreseeability - Res ipsa Loquitor To Win case - 51% Some Preliminary Issues Tort - a wrong committed against someone, either i) unintentional ii) Intentional - one should not intentionally cause injuries to another Strict Liability - responsibility for loss regardless of the circumstances - Strict liability still exists in cases where activities or practices are inherently dangerous Burden of Proof - on plaintiff unless “res ipsa loquitur” (facts speaks for themselves) Standard of proof 4.2 - Negligence: “beyond a balance of probabilities (over 50%) - Criminal: “beyond a reasonable doubt” (99%) - Professional discipline: “strong probability” (75%) Vicarious Liability - The liability at law of one person for the acts of another - Employers (deep pocket theory) - If done during the course of employment - Reflected through insurance coverage - employer also liable if tort committed by employee during course of employment - Buy burger at MCDs and get sick, we don’t sue the 14 year old employee, sue the Owner of the company for VICARIOUS LABILITY Negligence: hurdles to Overcome 1) Duty of Care 2) Standard of Care 3) Causation 4) Remoteness 5) Defences 6) Damages EXAMPLE Mrs. Stella Liebeck, 79 years old, orders cup of coffee from McDonald’s drive-through While sitting in passenger seat in stopped car, she puts cup of coffee between her legs and attempts to remove plastic lid to add cream and sugar She spills coffee onto her sweat pants and is severely burnt (6 percent of her body, inner thighs, buttocks, genital and groin areas, 7 days in hospital requiring skin grafts) McDonalds coffee served at 185 degrees F. (not fit for immediate human consumption - would burn mouth and throat) Consultants indicated that hot temperature required for better tasting coffee She ended up getting $800 000 THE MONEYSHE WON = PUNITIVE DAMAGES How toApproach a Tort - trying to determine if McD is negligent - If negligent - owe money - If not negligent - don’t owe money 1) Duty of Care 4.3 - a right-duty relationship - Duty not to injure must be owed to the party that suffers the injury Rule: Test of Foreseeability - would a reasonable person in similar circumstances have foreseen the injury to the plaintiff as a result of his/her actions? If yes, Duty of care owed by defendant to plaintiff. - a reasonable person would foresee that their actions would cause harm to another Did McDonald’s owe a duty of care? - yes they have a duty of care to all customers E.g. Doctor treated someone and knew they had seizures, they didn’t report it and the person had a seizure while driving and died, the family can sue because the Doctor had a Duty of care to! 2) Standard of Care - the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty not to injure - The defendant’s actions constitute a breach of that duty - The plaintiff suffers some injury as a direct result of the defendant’s action Two Steps: A) what standard of care is defendant required to meet (that exercised by reasonable person/com- pany) - lid was on - There was a warning on it - The cup was made well, not going to leak - Had right amount of coffee in it ← ← Against McD - other companies serving at hotter temperature - Not reasonable to sell coffee that is not consumable right away - Coffee wasn’t fit for consumption, cream and sugar should have been in it right away ← AND B) Based on facts, did defendant meet requisite standard of care Did McDonald’s meet requisite standard of care? Don’t want to talk about Stella Negligence when saying if McD acted with Standard of Care We are arguing that McD breached standard of care 4.4 3) Causation - a cause of injury directly related to an act of a defendant - Must be a connection between the defendant’s act and the plaintiff’s injury - Connection cannot be too remote Was defendant’s action the cause of the injury - But For Test - no injury “but for” particular fault - Ask whether the injury would not have happened but for the act of the defendant - Proximate Cause - e.g. No intervening events - E.g. Slide on ice at York, slip on ice and with a friend they try to catch us, they don’t do it right and we break all bones - did friend help cause the in- jury or was it the Walkway? Did McD cause the injury? 4) Remoteness of Damages - are injuries suffered too remote? - Is general type of injury reasonably foreseeable - Generally person takes victim as he/she finds him/her (e.g. “thin skull” principle) Were Mrs. Liebeck’s injuries too remote? - her injury was reasonably foreseeable - Extent of it was not seen - Court said tough luck - if it was reasonably foreseeable and it injured the 1 person out of however many, its their fault -THIN SKULLPRINCIPLE E.g.At a baseball game with coworkers, up to bat next, swinging bat, hit coworker in head by accident, damage skull and they have brain damage - WEARE RESPONSIBLE - THIN SKULL 5) Defences A) contributory negligence (plaintiff’s own carelessness) - when actions of the injured part contributed to their own injuries (Plaintiff’s carel
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