Connecticut Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

Connecticut Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

Torts are civil wrongs recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit. These wrongs result in an injury or harm constituting the basis for a claim by the injured party. The primary aims of tort law are to provide relief to injured parties for harms caused by others, to impose liability on parties responsible for the harm, and to deter others from committing harmful acts. In Connecticut, as in other jurisdictions, torts are divided into three categories: intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability. The following study guide outlines key concepts, cases, and laws applicable to these categories within Connecticut’s jurisdiction.

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts involve actions performed with the intent to bring about a specific result.

  • Battery: The intentional and harmful or offensive touching of another without consent. Look into the case of Vosburg v. Putney for a historical example.
  • Assault: An act that creates a reasonable apprehension in another of an imminent battery. Relevant case law includes I de S et ux v. W de S.
  • False Imprisonment: Intentional confinement of another person without lawful privilege and against the person’s consent. See Enright v. Groves for a nuanced discussion.
  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED): Extreme and outrageous conduct that causes severe emotional distress. The case of Parris v. Parris is instructive here.


Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances.

  • Duty: The obligation to protect others from unreasonable risk of harm. For duty to land visitors, Connecticut follows the traditional categories (invitee, licensee, trespasser) but may also apply the standard of reasonable care under the circumstances.
  • Breach: A violation of the duty of care.
  • Causation: Must show both actual cause (cause in fact) and proximate cause (legal cause).
  • Damages: The injured party must show that the breach caused damages.

Relevant case law includes Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. and Donoghue v. Stevenson for foundational principles of duty and standard of care.

Strict Liability

Strict liability holds a defendant liable for committing an action, regardless of what their intent or mental state was when committing the action.

  • Abnormally Dangerous Activities: Liability without fault for damages arising from abnormally dangerous activities like using explosives.
  • Product Liability: Manufacturers may be held strictly liable for defective products that cause injury.

Connecticut holds strict liability in cases such as Rylands v. Fletcher for abnormally dangerous activities and Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc. for product liability.

Key Topics in Connecticut Tort Law

  • Comparative Negligence: Connecticut follows a modified comparative negligence system. The plaintiff can only recover damages if their fault is not greater than the combined fault of the defendants.
  • Joint and Several Liability: Connecticut has modified joint and several liability. A defendant can be held responsible for the entire judgment if they are more than 50% at fault.
  • Vicarious Liability: Employers can be held liable for the torts committed by their employees within the scope of employment in Connecticut.
  • Nuisance: A person may be held liable for the use of their property in a manner that unreasonably interferes with others’ rights to use and enjoy their property.
  • Defamation: The act of harming the reputation of another by making a false statement to a third party.

Notable Connecticut Cases

  • Katko v. Briney: An important case discussing the use of force in defense of property.
  • Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California: Establishes the duty to warn potential victims of danger.

Practice and Application

  • Apply the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) method to hypothetical situations.
  • Review Connecticut Civil Jury Instructions for standard definitions and explanations of tort concepts.
  • Practice applying Connecticut-specific statutes and the Connecticut General Statutes (e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-572h(b) for comparative negligence).


For exam preparation, students should be well-versed in Connecticut-specific nuances in tort law and be able to apply general tort principles to a variety of fact patterns using the IRAC method. Understanding the key cases, statutes, and doctrines will be critical for successful navigation of tort law issues on your final exam.

Discover more from Legal Three

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

Continue reading