LAW 122 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Strict Liability, Independent Contractor, Punitive Damages

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24 Apr 2012
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Monday September 19th, 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
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