Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

Introduction to Torts

Torts law is the area of law governing civil wrongs that cause harm or loss, leading to legal liability. Unlike criminal law, torts do not involve the government prosecuting the wrongdoer, but rather private plaintiffs seeking compensation or other remedies from those who have wronged them.

Intentional Torts


Definition: The intentional and harmful or offensive touching of another person without consent.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13


Definition: An act that creates a reasonable apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 21

False Imprisonment

Definition: Intentionally confining a person against their will within a bounded area.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 35

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

Definition: An act amounting to extreme and outrageous conduct resulting in severe emotional distress to another.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46

Trespass to Land

Definition: The intentional and unauthorized entry onto land that is owned or possessed by another.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 158

Trespass to Chattels

Definition: Intentionally interfering with another’s use or possession of personal property without consent or legal justification.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 217


Definition: The intentional exercise of control over another’s personal property that so seriously interferes with the other’s right to control it that the actor may justly be required to pay the other the full value of the property.
Applicable Law: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 222A



Definition: An obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risks.
Nevada Specific Law: In Nevada, the duty of care can be determined by the risk foreseeability and the relationship between the parties.


Definition: The failure to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances.
Nevada Specific Law: Breach is often determined by the “reasonable person standard,” which can be influenced by Nevada’s community or industry standards.


Definition: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty was both the actual cause (cause in fact) and the proximate cause (legal cause) of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Nevada Specific Law: Nevada uses the “but for” and “substantial factor” tests for actual causation, and the foreseeability test for proximate causation.


Definition: The compensatory sum necessary to put the plaintiff in as good a position as they would have been had the tort not occurred.
Nevada Specific Law: Nevada allows for compensatory damages, which might include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in certain cases of egregious wrongdoing.

Defenses to Negligence

  • Comparative Negligence: Nevada follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which allows a damaged party to recover only if it is less than 51% at fault for the injury.
  • Assumption of Risk: The plaintiff knew the risk and voluntarily assumed it, thus the defendant is not liable for any harm caused by the risk.
  • Consent: The plaintiff consented to the act that resulted in harm.

Strict Liability

Abnormally Dangerous Activities

Definition: Liability imposed for harm resulting from abnormally dangerous activities, regardless of the level of care exercised.
Nevada Specific Law: Nevada’s application of strict liability in these cases may depend on factors such as the risk and common usage of the activity in question.

Liability for Defective Products

Definition: Manufacturers and sellers can be held strictly liable for harm caused by defective products that they place into the stream of commerce.
Nevada Specific Law: Nevada follows the majority rule that holds manufacturers, distributors, and retailers responsible for defective products that injure consumers.


Libel and Slander

Definition: Libel is defamation in written or fixed form, while slander is spoken defamation.
Nevada Specific Law: Nevada recognizes defamation per se, where damages are presumed in cases involving allegations of criminality, loathsome disease, professional incompetence, or sexual impropriety.

Privacy Torts

Intrusion upon Seclusion

Definition: Intentionally intruding, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns when the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

Public Disclosure of Private Facts

Definition: Publicizing private information about someone in a manner that a reasonable person would find highly offensive.

False Light

Definition: Publicizing information or material that places an individual in a false light that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.


Definition: The unauthorized use of another’s name or likeness for commercial purposes without their consent.

Employers’ Liability (Vicarious Liability)

Definition: Employers can be held liable for the wrongful acts committed by their employees while acting within the scope of employment.
Nevada Specific Law: Nevada adheres to the general principles of respondeat superior, holding employers responsible for the actions of their employees carried out in the course of employment.

Damages in Tort Law

  • Compensatory Damages: Intended to compensate the plaintiff for losses.
  • Punitive Damages: Intended to punish the defendant and deter future misconduct (allowed in Nevada for particularly egregious acts).
  • Nominal Damages: Symbolic damages awarded when a legal wrong has occurred but no actual injury was suffered.

Case Law Examples (IRAC Format)

Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. (1928)

Issue: Whether the railroad was liable for harm to a distant bystander caused by an unforeseeable chain of events.
Rule: A defendant owes a duty of care only to those who are reasonably foreseeable victims of their conduct.
Application: The harm to Palsgraf was not a foreseeable result of the railroad employees’ actions.
Conclusion: The railroad was not liable to Palsgraf.

Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (1976)

Issue: Whether a therapist has a duty to warn an identifiable victim of threats made by a patient.
Rule: Mental health professionals have a duty to protect individuals who are being threatened with bodily harm by a patient.
Application: The therapist should have warned the identifiable victim of the patient’s threats.
Conclusion: The court held that there was a duty to warn the victim, establishing the “duty to protect” principle.

Please note that while this guide provides an overview of torts concepts and the application of Nevada law, it is important to supplement this guide with additional readings, case law, and statutory material to ensure a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

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