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Chapter 3

LAW 122 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Damages, Professional Negligence In English Law, False Imprisonment


Department
Law and Business
Course Code
LAW 122
Professor
Stan Benda
Chapter
3

Page:
of 7
LAW122 Chapter 3 Notes
Tort
oFailure to fulfill a private obligation that was imposed by law
French tort = wrong
Latin tort = twisted or crooked
Obligation in tort law is owed to a person
Tort occurs when a person breaks a private obligation
Tortfeasor: a person who has committed a tort
Crime
oFailure to fulfill a public obligation that was imposed by law
Occurs when a person breaks a public obligation
Both torts and crimes arise from the same facts
oE.g., if you hit someone, you commit the tort of battery and the crime
of assault
oE.g., if I steal, I commit the tort of conversion and the crime of theft
oE.g., if I break into your house, I commit the tort of trespass to land
and the crime of break and enter
Private law
or public
law?
Which
parties are
involved in
the
obligation?
Who are the
parties to the
action if that
obligation is
broken?
What is the
usual
remedy?
Tort Law Private law The defendant
owes an
obligation to
the plaintiff
The plaintiff
sues the
defendant
Compensatory
damages
Criminal Law Public law The accused
owes an
The
government
Punishment
(such as a fine
obligation to
society
prosecutes the
accused
or
imprisonment)
Torts and Contracts
oSimilarity
Structure
Both have primary and secondary obligations
Primary: tells people how they should act
oE.g., tort of battery says “Do not touch another
person in an offensive way.”
oE.g., law of contract says “Keep your promises.”
Secondary: tells people how they must act after primary
obligations are broken
oE.g., “Pay money to the plaintiff as compensation
for the losses that you caused.”
oDifferences
Source of
Obligation
Privity Compensatory
Damages
Risk
Management
Tort Law Imposed by
law
Enforceable
regardless of
any agreement
between the
parties
Place the
plaintiff as if
the tort did not
occur
May take a
person by
surprise; May
require more
than a person
is able to give
Contract Law Voluntarily
created by
parties
Enforceable
only by or
against a party
to the contract
Place the
plaintiff as if
contract
performed
Always
possible to
know the
obligations in
advance;
Always
possible to
limit the
obligations to
promises that
can be fulfilled
Types of Torts (all based on mental culpability)
oIntentional torts
When a person intentionally acts in certain ways
Includes: assault; battery; false imprisonment; trespass to land;
interference with chattels; conspiracy; intimidation; interference
with contractual relations; unlawful interference with economic
relations; deceit
Deliberate performance of a prohibited act
Deliberate infliction of harm
oNegligence torts
When a person acts carelessly
Includes: occupiers’ liability; nuisance; negligence; professional
negligence; product liability
Balance freedom of action and freedom from harm
Activity allowed if reasonable in circumstances
oStrict liability torts
When a person does something wrong without intending to do
so and without acting carelessly
Includes: animals; Rylands v Fletcher (LOOK IT UP)
Often unusual and misunderstood
Create problems for risk management
Don’t require proof of any intentional or careless
wrongdoing
Usually limited to situations where the defendant did some
extraordinary dangerous activity