LAW 122 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Malicious Falsehood, False Statement, Justifiable Homicide

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25 Apr 2012
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Monday October 4th, 2011
Chapter 5
Miscellaneous Torts Affecting Business
Miscellaneous Torts Affecting Business:
-it is important for business students to be aware of certain torts affecting the normal course of business
operations
-tort law mediates a compromise of competing values and interests
aggressive competition vs. fair play
market forces vs. legal intervention
-8 miscellaneous torts grouped by themes in this chapter
conspiracy
intimidation
interference with contractual relations
unlawful interference with economic relations
deceit
occupiers liability
nuisance
the rule in Rylands vs. Fletcher
defamation
injurious falsehood
Conspiracy:
-law generally condones aggressive competition between individuals, its sense of fair play may be
offended if several people conspire against it
-occurs when 2 or more defendants agree to act together with the primary purpose of causing the
plaintiff to suffer a financial loss
-magic in numbers: no tort if 1 person hurts another economically
the laws sense of fair play may be offended if several people conspire against another
-tort is hard to prove; need to show that defendant’s primary purpose was hurting the plaintiff
-easier to prove if defendants conspired to commit unlawful act; only need to show that defendants
should have known that actions may hurt plaintiff
Intimidation:
- concerned with unethical business practices
-occurs when plaintiff suffers a loss as a result of defendants threat to commit unlawful act against
plaintiff or 3rd party
-tort of intimidation has 2 branches:
two party intimidation - defendant pressured plaintiff directly
three party intimidation - defendant pressured third party to hurt plaintiff
-whether intimidation involves 2 or 3 parties the basic rule remains the same plaintiff must prove:
1. plaintiff must prove that the defendant threatened to an unlawful act
Example: crime, tort, or even a breach of contract
2. tort does not occur unless the threatened party gave in to the intimidation
Example: plaintiff would not have won in Rookes vs. Bannd if the airline had ignored the
unions threat
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Monday October 4th, 2011
3. as long as there elements of torts are established there is no need to prove that the defendant
intended to hurt the plaintiff
Interference with Contractual Relations:
-One way to get an advantage is to hire away best workers OR prevent those people from doing their job
-tort occurs when defendant disrupts a contract that exists between the plaintiff and a third-party
-risk management:
danger in luring away competitor’s customers
danger in luring away competitor’s workers
- Direct Inducement to Breach occurs when the defendant directly persuades third party to break its
contracts
convince customer to break agreement
convince employee to quit job
Plaintiff must prove:
1. defendant knew about contract:
Must know about the contract that exists between the 3rd party and the plaintiff,
however it does not have to know all the details
2. defendant intended to cause breach of contract:
Caused the third party to break the contract
Defendant does not have to intend to hurt the plaintiff
3. defendant actually caused breach of contract (encouraged the breach):
Example: defendant might hire the 3rd party for a job that makes it impossible for that
person to work for the plaintiff, in this situation judges will ask whether the defendant
actually encouraged 3rd party to commit a breach of contract
4. plaintiff suffered loss:
plaintiff suffers a loss as a result the defendant conducts
-Indirect Inducement to Breach:
steal worker’s tools to prevent performance
need to also show that defendant’s acts were unlawful
defendant indirectly persuades a third party to break its contract with the plaintiff
Example: defendant may physically prevent the 3rd party from going to work or steal
tools that the 3rd party needs to perform the contract with
Unlawful Interference w/Economic Relations:
-occurs if defendant commits an unlawful act for the purpose of causing the plaintiff to suffer economic
loss; general tort
-even if can`t satisfy the requirements of the other torts, D can still be liable
Deceit:
- occurs if defendant makes false statement which it knows is untrue, which it intends to mislead
plaintiff and cause plaintiff to suffer a loss
false statement positively untrue, half-truth, failure to update information
plaintiff is entitled to be put into the position that it would have enjoyed if the
defendant had not lied
Example: suppose I tricked you into buying an apartment for me for $600000
but it is actually worth $500000, if my deceitful statement had been true it
would have been worth $750000, in tort you are entitled to $100000 not
$250000
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