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LAW 122 (625)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3 notes Introduction to Torts

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Law and Business
LAW 122
Ricardo Reyes

LAW 122 Chapter 3 – Introduction to Torts Jan 29, 2014 INTRODUCTION TO TORT LAW Tort – Generally consists of a failure to fulfill a private obligation that was imposed by law Torts and Crimes Tortfeasor – a person who commits a tort • If I owe an obligation to you personally to not make defamatory statements about your past and I falsely tell your employer you committed murder, you are entitles to sue me and if you win, I am liable and will probably pay for damages to you Tort occurs when a person breaks a private obligation Crime occurs when a person breaks a public obligation • Public obligation is owed to society as a whole, rather than to any particular person • If anything goes wrong, government will prosecute the accused on behalf of the whole community, even if crime was affected only to a specific person. Then if found guilty, government will accuse guilty and subjected to punishment • Tort law discourages people from committing private wrongs by requiring them to compensate victims • Torts and crimes will overlap o Sneak into your house  Tort of trespass to land and crime of break and enter o Hit you  Tort of battery and crime of assault Private or Public Which parties are Who are the What is the usual law? involved in the parties to the remedy? obligation? action if that obligation is broken? Tort Law Private law The defendant The plaintiff sues Compensatory owes an obligation the defendant damages to the plaintiff Crime Law Public law The accused owes The government Punishment (fine or an obligation to prosecutes the imprisonment) society accused Torts and Contracts Torts may also be confused with contracts • Structure: Both tort and contract involve primary and secondary obligations Page 1of 6 LAW 122 Chapter 3 – Introduction to Torts Jan 29, 2014 o Primary obligations – tell people how they ought to act  Tort of battery says “don’t touch another person in an offensive way”, law of contract says “keep your promises” o Secondary Obligations – remedial, tell people how they must act after primary obligations have been broken  Pay money to plaintiff as compensation after case is lost • Source of Primary Obligations: Differences between tort and contract o Tort – Obligations of tort are imposed by law o Contract – Obligations are created by the parties involved • Privity: Close, mutual, or successive relationship to the same right of property o Tort – since obligations imposed by law, I can sue you even if you don’t agree to anything o Contract – Privity states that the only people who can sue, or be sued, on a contract are the parties themselves • Compensation: Available in both torts and contracts o Tort – Obligations imposed to prevent harm  If you break primary obligations and I suffer $5000 in medical bills, I recover this amount from you o Contract – To provide benefits  Agreed to buy my car for $10,000 but failed to do so, you still have to pay me for whatever the car is really worth, $13,000 o Tort looks backward, contract looks forward • Risk Management: Significant impact on the issue of risk management o Tort – Since imposed by law, more likely to take a person by surprise and may require more than a person is actually capable of providing o Contract – Obligations created voluntarily, should never take parties by surprise and should never require more than the parties believe they can actually provide Types of Torts Intentional Torts Occurs when a person intentionally acts in a certain way to harm another • Intention: o Proof that the defendant intended to hurt the plaintiff  Protect financial interest from purposeful harm Page 2 of6 LAW 122 Chapter 3 – Introduction to Torts Jan 29, 2014 o Proof that the defendant merely intended to act in a certain way, even if they did not realize that the plaintiff would be hurt  Protects valuable interests such as physical safety and freedom Negligence Torts Occurs when a person acts carelessly Strict Liability Torts Occurs when a person does something wrong without intending to do so and without acting carelessly • Limited to extraordinarily dangerous activity Strict Liability Torts for Extraordinarily Dangerous Activity Occurs when the defendant is responsible for an especially dangerous activity that caused harm • Creates special problems for risk management o Liability regardless of intention or carelessness o Precautious undertaken to reduce risk might impact liability, there is no guarantee Intentional Torts Assault Battery False Imprisonment Trespass to land Interference with chattels Conspiracy Intimidation Interference with contractual relations Unlawful interference with economic relations Deceit Negligence Torts Occupier’s liability Nuisance Negligence Professional Negligence
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