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Intentional Torts - Study Guide I

Things to Think About

What are two ways to show intent?

What if the defendant is mistaken about his right to take action against the plaintiff?

When is infancy a defense to intentional torts?

When is insanity a defense to intentional torts?

When can the plaintiff plead an intentional tort and negligence in the alternative and when is this prohibited?

How can consent be a defense?

What is implied consent?

What is consent by law?

Your client is brought into the emergency room with serious injuries. He is unconscious and the physicians treat him. He has religious objections to medical treatment, but his Christian Science bracelet was lost in the accident. What are the doc's defenses to battery?

What can undermine consent?

What is self-defense and what are its limits?

What is defense of others and what are its limits?

Battery

The Restatement elements for battery:

s 13. BATTERY: HARMFUL CONTACT
An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if

(a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and

(b) a harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

Does this mean that as long as the defendant thinks the plaintiff will enjoy the contact that there is no tort?

Whose perspective is used to judge whether the contact is harmful or offensive?

What is the MAI for battery?

Assault

The Restatement elements for assault:

s 21. ASSAULT

(1) An actor is subject to liability to another for assault if

(a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and

(b) the other is thereby put in such imminent apprehension.

(2) An action which is not done with the intention stated in Subsection (1, a) does not make the actor liable to the other for an apprehension caused thereby although the act involves an unreasonable risk of causing it and, therefore, would be negligent or reckless if the risk threatened bodily harm.

What is the MAI for assault?

False Imprisonment

Restatement (Second) of Torts, 35 (1965)

(1) An actor is subject to liability to another for false imprisonment if 

a. he acts intending to confine the other or a third person within boundaries fixed by the actor, and

b. his act directly or indirectly results in such a confinement of the other, and 

c. the other is conscious of the confinement or is harmed by it.

(2) An act which is not done with the intention stated in Subsection (1,a) does not make the actor liable to the other for a merely transitory or otherwise harmless confinement, although the act involves an unreasonable risk of imposing it and therefore would be negligent or reckless if the risk threatened bodily harm.

Comment h to subsection (2) states:

h. Extent of protection of interest in freedom from confinement. Under this Section the actor is not liable unless his act is done for the purpose of imposing confinement upon the other, or with knowledge that such a confinement will, to a substantial certainty, result from it. It is not enough that the actor realizes or should realize that his actions involve a risk of causing a confinement, so long as the likelihood that it will do so falls short of a substantial certainty.

The mere dignitary interest in feeling free to choose one's own location and, therefore, in freedom from the realization that one's will to choose one's location is subordinated to the will of another is given legal protection only against invasion by acts done with the intention stated in Subsection (1,a). It is not protected against acts which threaten to cause such an invasion even though the likelihood is so great that if a more perfectly protected interest, such as that in bodily security, were imperiled, the actor's conduct would be negligent or even reckless. Therefore, if the actor's conduct threatens nothing more than this, it is not tortious toward the other, and thus, cannot make the actor liable irrespective of whether it causes only a transitory confinement or some material harm. So too, the actor whose conduct is negligent or reckless because of the risk which it involves to the other's bodily security or some more perfectly protected interest, is not subject to liability if his conduct causes nothing more than the imposition of a transitory and harmless confinement. However, the circumstances which the actor knows or should know may be such that he should realize that to confine another in a particular area even for a very short space of time may involve an unreasonable risk of invading interests such as that in bodily security which are protected against negligent conduct. In such case, the fact that the harm is threatened and accomplished by the other's transitory confinement does not prevent the actor's conduct from being negligent toward the other and, therefore, subjecting him to liability.

Illustration :

2. Just before closing time, A, a shopkeeper, sends B into a cold storage vault to take inventory of the articles therein. Forgetting that he has done so, he locks the door of the vault on leaving the premises. If in a few moments thereafter, he remembers that B is in the vault and immediately goes back and releases B, he is not liable to B for the momentary confinement to which B has been subjected. On the other hand, if he does not remember that B is in the vault until he reaches home and, therefore, although he acts immediately, he cannot release B until B has been confined in the cold vault for so long a time as to bring on a heavy cold which develops into pneumonia, he is subject to liability to B for the illness so caused.

What is the MAI for false imprisonment?

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