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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Intentional Torts

Law and Business
Course Code
LAW 122
Jane Monro

of 2
Chapter 4: Intentional Torts
Intentional Torts: involve intentional, rather than merely careless, conduct (assault, battery, invasion of
privacy, false imprisonment, trespass to land, interference with chattels)
Assault & Battery
Tort of Assault: when the defendant intentionally causes the plaintiff to reasonably believe that
offensive bodily contact is imminent. The tort is not based on physical contact but instead of reasonable
belief that such contact will occur. It is designed to keep peace by discouraging people to do. It is also
enough for the plaintiff to reasonable believe that bodily contact would occur. The plaintiff must have
believe that the bodily contact was also imminent (immediate) and an assault can occur even if the
plaintiff was not frightened.
Tort of Battery: consist of offensive bodily contact. The requirement from bodily contact is not strictly
applied, it is enough from the defendant to make contact with the plaintiffs clothing or with something
that the plaintiff is holding. Not every form of contact is offensive like normal social interactions.
Invasion of Privacy
-Privacy is indirectly protected by several torts such as Tort of Trespass to land, Breach of Confidence,
English courts have recognized a Tort of Abuse of Private Information, Misappropriation of
Personality, and Negligence
-2005, Parliament enacted section 162 of the Criminal Code, the crime of “voyeurism” is committed by
secretly observing or recording a person “in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of
privacy” if that person is engaged in a sexual activity or is partially/fully nude.
False Imprisonment
Tort of False Imprisonment: occurs when a person is confined within a fixed area without justification.
The defendant does not commit a false imprisonment by obstructing one path while leaving another
reasonably open or if the plaintiff can easily escape. It does not have to be physical but may be
physiological. If a business tells an officer to arrest someone rather than letting the officer conclude for
Malicious Prosecution: occurs when the defendant improperly causes the plaintiff to be prosecuted
-If the person gives consent, the defendant will not be held liable
Police Officers: are able to arrest anyone who is reasonably suspected of being in the act of committing a
crime or having committed a serious crime in the past; if those are true than the officer cannot be held
liable even if the person is innocent
Private Citizens: is entitled to make an arrest only if a crime is actually being committed by the suspect.
Trespass to Land
Tort of Trespass to Land: occurs when the defendant improperly interferes with the plaintiff’s land. The
tort of trespass is not commuted by a person who has legal authority to be on a property such as a
police officer with a search warrant. The usual remedy for a trespass is compensation for the harm that
is caused. A court may offer nominal damages if there was no loss, or punitive damages if the
defendant’s conduct was shockingly bad. An injunction may be necessary if you wanted something
Interference with Chattels
Chattels: are moveable forms of property such as horses, cars, and books
1) Tort of Trespass to Chattels: occurs when the defendant interferes with chattels in the
plaintiff’s possession. There may be a trespass if the defendant merely touches the plaintiff’s
property. The remedy is usually compensation damages.
2) Tort of Conversion: occurs when the defendant interferes with the plaintiff’s chattels in a way
that is serious enough to justify a forced sale. The defendant takes, detains uses, buys, sells,
damages, or destroys the plaintiff’s property. The remedy is that the defendant will be required
to buy the item by paying the market value that the chattel had at the time of the tort. In
exchange for that payment, the defendant acquires the property. Exception is money to ensure
that money flows freely through our economy.
3) Tort of Detinue: occurs when the defendant fails to return a chattel that the plaintiff is entitled
to possess. Detinue is the only tort that generally allows a court to order the defendant to
return a chattel to the plaintiff. The tort comes to an end as soon as the defendant returns the
property and the defendant has to compensate for the losses during the detention as well as
any harm done. If the property has not been returned by the time of trial, the plaintiff can ask
the court to compel the defendant to do so.
Defenses to Intentional Torts
Complete Defenses: protects the tortfeasor from all liability
Consent: exists if a person voluntarily agrees to experience an interference with the body, land
or goods
-Consent may be express or implied and is effective only if it is free and informed and should be
revocable at any time (withdraw your consent)
Legal Authority: provides a person with a lawful right to act in a certain way
Self Defense: consists of the right to protect oneself from violence and the threat of violence. It
is only available if the person was at immediate risk, must have been reasonable
Defense of a Third Party: when someone else is defending you like mother protecting son
Necessity: applies if the defendant’s act were justified by an emergency. It is restricted to
situations in which immediate action is required in order to avoid some calamity
Partial Defense: allows a court to reduce damages on the basis of the plaintiff’s own responsibility for a
loss or an injury
Provocation: consists of words or actions that would cause a reasonable person to lose self-
control. The defendant is held liable for the physical attack but the plaintiff is not entitled to full
Contributory Negligence: occurs when the plaintiff is partially responsible for the injury that the
defendant caused. Because responsibility is shared between the parties, the defendant is held
liable but damages are reduced to reflect the plaintiff’s contribution to the injury.