Pennsylvania Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

Pennsylvania Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts

I. Introduction to Torts

Torts is the body of law covering civil wrongs that aren’t the result of a breach of contract. It offers remedies for individuals who have suffered harm to their legal rights.

II. Intentional Torts

Intentional torts occur when a defendant purposefully inflicts injury upon another. They can be subdivided into two categories: torts against the person and torts against property.

A. Assault and Battery

Assault is the intentional creation of apprehension of harmful or offensive contact, while battery is the intentional harmful or offensive contact. Case study: White v. University of Pennsylvania, where a patient claimed she was assaulted during medical treatment.

B. False Imprisonment

False imprisonment involves the intentional confinement of another person within fixed boundaries.

C. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Intentional infliction of emotional distress refers to extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causing severe emotional distress. Case study: Hoy v. Angelone, where the court allowed a claim for IIED based on a prank.

D. Trespass to Land

Trespass to Land involves entering another person’s property without consent.

E. Conversion

Conversion is the intentional exercise of control over another’s personal property.

III. Negligence

Negligence is conduct that falls below the standard of care established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.

A. Duty

The duty refers to the responsibility one person owes to another. Case study: Althaus v. Cohen, where the standard of care for psychotherapists was established.

B. Breach

The breach is the violation of the duty.

C. Causation

Causation is the link between the defendant’s breach and the plaintiff’s harm.

D. Damages

Damages are the harm suffered by the plaintiff.

IV. Strict Liability

Strict liability is a legal doctrine that holds a defendant liable for harm, regardless of their intent or negligence. It often applies to abnormally dangerous activities.

V. Products Liability

Products liability refers to the liability of any party along the chain of manufacture for damage caused by a product.

VI. Defamation

Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, or entity.

VII. Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy involves intrusion into one’s private affairs, public disclosure of private facts, and false light.

VIII. Nuisance

A nuisance is an unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public.

IX. Defenses to Torts

Defenses include consent, self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, necessity, and privilege.

X. Damages

Damages in tort cases are typically compensatory, aiming to restore the injured party to the position they would have been in had the tort not occurred.

In preparation for exams, it’s essential to understand how these concepts apply to various fact scenarios, being mindful of Pennsylvania’s specific interpretations and applications of these legal theories. Understanding case law, the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) method, and how to apply legal principles to factual situations are key to success in a Torts class.

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