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Chapter 3

LAW 122- Chapter 3- Introduction to Torts.docx

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Ryerson University
Law and Business
LAW 122
Theresa Miedema

LAW122- Chapter 3- Introduction to Torts Introduction to Tort Law (Page 60)  Derived from French word “tort”— wrong o Latin word “tortus”—twisted, crooked  Tort- generally consists of a failure to fulfill a private obligation that was imposed by law  Advantages o full compensation for wrongful losses o deterrence: misconduct identified and blamed  Disadvantages o compensation limited to wrongfully occurring losses o expensive and time-consuming process Torts and crimes  Tortfeasor- person who has committed a tort  Compared with a crime o Tort occurs— person breaks a private obligation  Owed to a person  Claim by individual plaintiff  Usual remedy of compensatory damages o Crime occurs—person breaks a public obligation  Owed to society as a whole  Prosecution by Crown  Usual remedy of punishment  Overlap o Same event may be both tort and crime o eg beating = battery (tort) + assault (crime) Torts and contracts  Structure—involves primary and secondary obligations o Primary tell people how they ought to act o Secondary remedial—how they must act after primary obligations been broken o Breach of primary duty creates secondary duty  Tort  Primary duty = do not harm another  Secondary duty = compensatory damages  Contract  Primary duty = fulfill promise  Secondary duty = compensatory damages  Source of primary obligation o Tort imposed by law  eg negligence duty of care if neighbourhood principle o Contract voluntarily created by parties  eg duty to pay price under voluntarily sale  Privity—people who can sue or be sued on a contract are the parties themselves o tort  action by or against anyone caught by duty or right  eg must act carefully even if no promise to do so o contract  action by or against only voluntary party to contract  eg must pay price only if promised to do so  Compensation—available in both o Imposing obligations in tort law is to prevent them  Tort of battery—prohibits you from hurting me with punches and kicks  E.g. medical bill was $500, I would get that back  backward-looking damages  place plaintiff as if tort never occurred o Imposing obligations in a contact is to provide benefits  E.g. Paid $10000 for a car, but it was really worth $13000  forward-looking damages  place plaintiff as if promise fulfilled 1 LAW122- Chapter 3- Introduction to Torts  Risk management o Tort obligations—imposed by law  More likely to take a person my surprise  Require more than a person is actually capable of providing  Tougher to manage o Contract—created voluntarily  NEVER take a person my surprise  NEVER require more than a person is actually capable of providing  Easier to manage Types of Torts  Has to strike a balance between competing interests o Respects freedom of choice—discourages dangerous behavior o Businesses to be innovative and efficient—compensate consumers who are hurt by manufacturing goods o Physical harm—economic loss  Differs on basis on mental culpability o Intentional torts—person intentionally acts a certain way  Assult, battery, false imprisonment o Negligence torts—person acting carelessly  Occupiers liability, nuisance, negligence o Strict liability torts—person doing something wrong without intending and without acting carelessly  Animals, Rylands V Fletcher  Strict liability o Create special problems for risk management—not require proof of any sort of intentional or careless wrongdoing o Imposed—defendant responsible for situation that injured the plaintiff o Danger of liability—avoid the relevant activity altogether o Strict = liability without intention or negligence  Liability based on responsibility for prohibited event –but subject to defense of voluntary assumption of risk o Limited to situations in which the defendant is involved in some extraordinarily dangerous activity  Allows defendant to engage in activity and pay for any damages that occur  eg ownership of wild animals, Rylands v Fletcher  Intentional torts o intention = liability for deliberate act  deliberate performance of prohibited act  protect valuable interests (eg physical safety, freedom) o eg battery, false imprisonment  deliberate infliction of harm  protect financial interests from purposeful harm o eg inducing breach of contract, intimidation  negligence torts o negligence = liability for careless behaviour  balance freedo
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