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Chapter 4

LAW 122- Chapter 4- Intentional Torts.docx

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Ryerson University
Law and Business
LAW 122
Theresa Miedema

LAW 122 – Chapter 4 - Intentional Torts Intentional Torts involve intentional, rather than merely careless conduct – Interference with person • Assault and battery • Invasion of privacy • False imprisonment – Trespass to land – Interference with chattels • Trespass, conversion, dentine Assault and Battery (p.79)  Assault occurs when the defendant intentionally causes the plaintiff to reasonably believe that offensive bodily contact is imminent  The tort is not based on physical contact, it is based on a reasonable belief that such contact will occur – swinging fists without contact  If the plaintiff reasonably believed that bodily contact would occur – pointing a gun in my direction even if the gun is not loaded  The plaintiff must have believed that bodily contact was imminent  An assault can occur even if the plaintiff was not frightened. Threatened some offensive contact i.e. swinging your fists at me even though I know that you are far too small to do any harm  The tort of battery consists of offensive bodily contact  The requirement of bodily contact does not strictly applied. It is enough if the defendant causes something, such as a knife or a bullet to touch the plaintiff  Not every form of contact is offensive. Normal social interaction is allowed. Someone brushed me in the elevator.  Risk management  Businesses must carefully train bouncers and security personnel to avoid using excessive force when ejecting rowdy customers from their premises  Businesses can be held vicariously liable for battery if excessive force is applied by security personnel  Assault and battery  Frequently committed together  Occasionally committed apart  Threat of contact without actual contact (assault only)  Actual contact without warning (battery only) Invasion of Privacy (p. 81) • Striking a difficult balance  Privacy increasingly under threat of invasion  eg camera-equipped cellular telephones  eg Internet predators and vulnerable children  Need to protect countervailing interests • eg freedom of expression • eg collection of personal information and data • No independent tort of invasion of privacy • Reasons: • Courts want to support freedom of expression • Courts are concerned about defining concept of privacy in a way that strikes a fair balance between the parties • e.g. courts are reluctant to award damages in favour of celebrities who seek out publicity but then complain when they are shown in a bad light • Difficult to define scope of protected interests • Losses often merely intangible (embarrassment) • Examples on page 81-82 1 LAW 122 – Chapter 4 - Intentional Torts False Imprisonment  The tort of false imprisonment occurs when a person is confined within a fixed area without justification  The tort can be committed if a person is trapped in a car, locked in a room, or set adrift on a boat  Physical force is not necessary. The detention may be psychological. If a shopper accompanies a security guard to a back room in order to avoid public embarrassment a tort may be committed  Malicious prosecution occurs when the defendant improperly causes the plaintiff to be prosecuted  Malicious prosecution vs false imprisonment  Malicious prosecution: focus on prosecution  False imprisonment: focus on imprisonment  Elements of malicious prosecution  Improper prosecution by police or citizen  Prosecution for improper purpose (eg malice)  Prosecution without reasonable belief in guilt  Plaintiff acquitted of crime  False imprisonment = unjustified detention  Detention may be justified by Criminal Code  Powers of arrest and detention  Police officers  May arrest anyone Reasonable belief in commission of crime  No liability even if no actual crime  Private citizens (including security guards)  Actual commission of crime  Liable if reasonable but wrongful belief of crime  Risk management  Business may reduce the risk of liability by calling a police officer, instead of directly arresting a suspect Liability may still be imposed if a business directs a police officer to make an arrest, rather than merely state the facts Trespass to Land p.86  A trespass to land occurs when the defendant improperly interferes with the plaintiff’s land.  The tort can arises by i) physically sneaking onto someone’s property or ii) simply something as kicking a ball onto someone’s lawn (if you do not retrieve the ball) even if you did not intend to do wrong or cause damage  Must be invited onto the property  Remedies  Damages  Compensatory, nominal, or punitive  Injunction  Prevent ongoing trespass  eg path persistently cut across
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