Alaska Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

Alaska Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

I. Introduction to Torts
– Definition: A tort is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.
– Purpose of Tort Law: To provide a remedy (damages) for injury to a protected interest.
– Types of Torts: Intentional Torts, Negligence, and Strict Liability.

II. Intentional Torts
– Battery: Intentional infliction of harmful or offensive contact.
– Assault: Intentional act causing another to apprehend imminent harmful or offensive contact.
– False Imprisonment: Intentional act restraining another’s freedom of movement.
– Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED): Intentional or reckless act causing severe emotional distress.
– Trespass to Land: Intentional entry onto another’s land without consent.
– Trespass to Chattels: Intentional interference with another’s use or possession of personal property.
– Conversion: Intentional exercise of control over another’s chattel.

III. Defenses to Intentional Torts
– Consent: The plaintiff consented to the act that resulted in harm.
– Self-Defense: The defendant acted to protect themselves from harm.
– Defense of Others: The defendant acted to protect another person from harm.
– Defense of Property: The defendant acted to protect their property.
– Necessity: The defendant acted out of a necessity to prevent a greater harm.

IV. Negligence
– Duty: The obligation to conform to a standard of conduct to protect others.
– Breach of Duty: Failure to meet the standard of care.
– Causation: Link between breach of duty and the harm caused.
– Actual Cause: The injury would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s actions.
– Proximate Cause: Limits liability to consequences that bear a reasonable relationship to the negligent conduct.
– Damages: Actual loss or injury suffered by the plaintiff.

V. Special Negligence Doctrines
– Res Ipsa Loquitur: The thing speaks for itself – inferring negligence by the very nature of the accident.
– Negligence Per Se: An act is considered negligent because it violates a statute or regulation.
– Attractive Nuisance: A doctrine applying to landowners who must take special care when they are aware that children are likely to trespass.

VI. Strict Liability
– Liability without fault for abnormally dangerous activities, certain animal-related injuries, and product liability cases.

VII. Damages
– Compensatory Damages: To compensate for actual losses.
– Punitive Damages: To punish and deter particularly egregious conduct.

VIII. Vicarious Liability
– Employers may be held liable for torts committed by their employees acting within the scope of employment.

IX. Joint and Several Liability
– When two or more defendants are found liable for damages, each defendant is responsible for the entire judgment amount.

X. Products Liability
– The liability of manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to consumers for injuries caused by defective products.

XI. Defamation
– Defamation includes both libel (written) and slander (spoken) that injuriously impacts a person’s reputation.
– Elements: A false statement of fact, published to a third party, causing damage to the plaintiff’s reputation.

XII. Privacy Torts
– Intrusion upon seclusion or solitude.
– Public disclosure of private facts.
– False light in the public eye.
– Appropriation of name or likeness.

XIII. Alaska-specific Tort Concepts
– Modified Comparative Negligence: In Alaska, a plaintiff may only recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the injury.
– Damage Caps: Alaska has statutory limits on non-economic damages in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

XIV. Key Alaska Cases
Case: Delgado v. Fawcett (Alaska 1983)
Issue: Whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
Rule: The existence of a duty is determined by the foreseeability of the harm.
Analysis: The court considered the relationship between the parties and the general risks involved.
Conclusion: The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff as the harm was foreseeable.

Case: D.S.W. v. Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (Alaska 1989)
Issue: The application of the doctrine of vicarious liability for the actions of school district employees.
Rule: An employer can be held vicariously liable for the torts of an employee if they occur within the scope of employment.
Analysis: The court examined the conduct of the school employees in relation to their employment duties.
Conclusion: The school district was found vicariously liable for the actions of its employees as they were acting within the scope of their employment.

This Study Guide serves as a starting foundation for understanding basic tort principles applicable in Alaska. For a comprehensive review, students should also consult statutory laws and regulations, as well as other relevant case law to ensure a robust understanding of tort law in preparation for their final exam.

Discover more from Legal Three

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading