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LAW 122 (616)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3

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Ryerson University
Law and Business
LAW 122
Avi Weisman

Monday September 19 , 2011 Chapter 3 Introduction to Torts Introduction to Tort Law: -Tort = generally consists of a failure to fulfill a private obligation that was imposed by law -Tortfeasor = a “person” who has committed a tort  Example: l owe you an obligation personally not to make defamatory statement about your part, obligation will be broken if I tell your employer that you were once convicted of murder, therefore, I will be a tortfeasor if I break the tort Torts and Crimes: -Tort = private wrong (person breaks private obligation)  breach of obligation to a person  claim by individual plaintiff  usual remedy of compensatory damages ($$$) -Crime = public wrong (person breaks public obligation)  breach of obligation to society  prosecution by Crown  usual remedy of punishment (fine or imprisonment) -both overlap; same event may be both tort and crime (ie a beating: crime of assault, tort of battery) -Examples:  if I hit you, I will commit the tort of battery and the crime of an assult  if I take your car without permission, I will commit the tort of conversation and the crime of theft  if I sneak into your house, I commit the tort of trespass to land and crime of break and enter Torts and Contracts: -sued are the parties to contract -contracts are created by the parties, rather than imposed by law -similarity between torts and contracts: 1. Structure: both involve primary and secondary obligations  Primary: tells people how to act  Example: tort of battery says “do not touch another person in an offensive way”  Secondary: obligation are remedial, they tell people how they must act after primary  the breach of the primary duty creates the secondary obligation  tort : primary duty = do not harm another ; secondary duty = damages  contract: primary duty = fulfill promise; secondary duty = damages -differences between torts and contracts: 1. Source of Primary Obligations:  Is simply imposed by the law, even though you never promised to behave, even if we are complete strangers you must not commit a battery against me  torts: obligations imposed by law (not promises)  contracts: obligations created by the parties Monday September 19 , 2011 2. Privity:  Because obligations in tort are simply imposed by law there is no need for the partied to create a special relationship for themselves, I can sure you for battery even if you never promised to hit me  torts: no need to create a special relationship; imposed duty to others  contracts: only people who can sue or be 3. Typical Compensation:  Compensation is calculated by the difference for both tort and contract purpose is to prevent harm  torts: to be put back in position as if tort never occurred; backwards looking  contracts: to be put in position that was expected once promise fulfilled; forward looking 4. Risk Management:  Obligations sigh contract that are created should never be taken to the parties by surprise  torts: imposed obligations tougher to manage (can take a person by surprise)  contracts: voluntary obligations easier to manage (can limit obligations to promises you know you can fulfill) Types of Torts: -Tort law covers a great deal of territory -Tort law tries to strike a balance between competing interests:  respect efficiency of business vs. compensating consumers  respect freedom of choice vs. discouraging dangerous behaviour  Torts differ on basis of mental culpability: 3 possibilities: 1. Intentional Torts:  occur when a person intentionally acts in a certain way; liable for deliberate act  Example: assault, intimidation, trespass to land  Some torts require proof that the defendant intended to hurt the plaintiff, others are satisfied by proof that the defendant intended to act in a certain way even if they didn’t realize that the plaintiff would be hurt 2. Negligence:  occurs when a person acts carelessly; liability for careless behaviour  balance freedom of action with freedom from harm 3. Strict Liability:  occurs when person does something wrong without intending to do so and without
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